How Interface proved that you can build a successful business without destroying the planet
‘America’s greenest CEO’ and the hero of award-winning documentary The Corporation makes the urgent, compelling case that sustainable business pays
Ray Anderson’s story is truly inspirational. In 1994, after reading The Ecology of Commerce by Paul Hawken, Ray felt a ‘spear in the chest’: he realised that his company, billion-dollar carpeting manufacturer Interface, Inc, was plundering the environment with its unsustainable business practices, and he needed to steer it on a new course.
Thoughtful and winning, Confessions of a Radical Industrialist shows just how Anderson revolutionised his company, and includes the 'seven faces of Mount Sustainability' they are climbing:
1. moving towards zero waste
2. making emissions benign
3. using renewable energy
4. instigating closed-loop recycling, imitating nature's way of turning waste into food
5. ensuring all transportation is resource-efficient
6. creating a corporate ecosystem, with cooperation as its founding principle
7. assessing costs accurately in order to set real prices
By setting unprecedented targets for cutting waste, instigating revolutionary recycling initiatives, and encouraging employees at every level of the company to contribute ideas on how to save resources, he has succeeded in cutting Interface's greenhouse gas emissions by 82%, and the goal is to reach zero emissions by 2020. Not only that, he has also brought down costs, improved quality, made Interface one of Fortune’s ‘100 Best Companies to Work For’, and increased profits.
What Confessions of a Radical Industrialist proves is that running your company sustainably isn't radical at all - it's just good business.