Interface raises sustainability bar

Interface Inc. has announced that, as part of its “Mission Zero” commitment to eliminate negative environmental impact by 2020, the company pledges to obtain third-party validated environmental product declarations (EPDs) on all InterfaceFLOR products globally by 2012. The worldwide leader in design, production and sales of environmentally responsible modular carpet has also unveiled a report entitled Mount Sustainability; Mission Zero Milestones, sharing 16 years of progress and previewing the challenges ahead in the next decade.

“With the multitude of environmental labels in the marketplace, adoption of EPDs is the right thing to do and Interface’s way forward,” said Dan Hendrix, president and CEO of Interface. “Environmental Product Declarations require full transparency, create new standards of accountability, and will ultimately spur new levels of innovation as customers begin to understand the impacts of their purchasing decisions and demand more from business and industry.”

“Our EPDs will be based on the most rigorous, third-party verified life cycle assessments (LCAs) used anywhere on Earth, measuring and disclosing environmental impacts throughout our supply chain, from well-head and mine to end of life reclamation and recycling,” said Interface founder and chairman Ray Anderson.

“Environmental responsibility needs to be at the core of every organization in Canada – a value that InterfaceFLOR has embraced and excelled in,” says David Suzuki, co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation and one of the world’s leaders in sustainable ecology. “Through its ambitious ‘Mission Zero’ efforts, InterfaceFLOR is establishing the platinum standard for environmental stewardship and sustainability in Canada and around the globe.”

Joining Interface in its announcement, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stressed the importance of full transparency. Paul Anastas, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Research and Development remarked, “Transparency is a hallmark of protection of human health and the environment.”

The Mission Zero Milestones report details how Interface is simultaneously pursuing three paths to sustainability:  

1. Innovative solutions for reducing the company’s footprint. For example, since 1996, the company has reduced net greenhouse gas emissions by 94 per cent. Interface has also achieved $433 million in avoided waste cost since 1995.

2. Transformational redesign of products and processes to “close the loop.” Interface has diverted over 100,000 tons of material from landfills through its ReEntry program, pioneering the process of turning old carpet into new.  

3. An enlightened and engaged company culture is cited by Interface as one of the most important aspects of its progress to date and its future ability to meet the challenges on the road ahead.  

Ray Anderson added, “We are taking stock of our achievements and an honest look at the challenges ahead.  This we know: openness, honesty, and collaboration are key to environmental progress – not only for Interface but for any business. We are calling on our fellow industrialists everywhere to make the same commitment to transparency and to the business model: ‘doing well by doing good,’ a better way to a bigger, more honest and authentic profit.”