Interface Inc., a global force in design, production and sales of environmentally responsible modular carpet, has revealed highlights made over the past year in reducing its own negative impacts on the earth, to demonstrate ways in which other companies can achieve progress toward sustainability. Among the top accomplishments heralded by Interface president and CEO Dan Hendrix are: advancements in recycling and diverting used products from landfills; cumulative reductions in greenhouse gas emissions; committing to greater transparency in the form of Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs), and educating employees and other stakeholders about the benefits of sustainability.
The company considers indicators such as its physical waste, energy usage, greenhouse gas emissions and water consumption to be crucial to understanding its progress toward sustainability and the challenges ahead. Driven by research and development in manufacturing processes and product innovation, Interface also considers the significance of social capital and investment in people, including the company’s employees and local community members, as critical components for advancement.
- Forty percent of raw materials used were from recycled or bio-based sources. In the past six years, the percentage of recycled and bio-based raw material use has grown from four percent to 40 percent.
- ReEntry® 2.0, a process that reclaims old carpet and converts it into recycled raw materials, diverted 12,500 tons of carpet from landfills in 2010.
- Actual greenhouse gas emissions at manufacturing facilities have been reduced by 35 percent from a 1996 baseline. This amount is the equivalent to the carbon sequestered by 612,641 tree seedlings grown for 10 years, according to the U.S. EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator.
- Commitment to EPDs on all InterfaceFLOR products by 2012. Like nutrition labels, but much more detailed, EPDs offer product “ingredients” and environmental impacts that occur throughout the entire life of a product. They follow standardized product category guidelines verified by third parties to provide full disclosure.
- Compelling example of culture inspired by sustainability. Through a project called “Together We Can Reuse It,” Interface employees in Thailand demonstrated waste recycling by creating an inventive new purpose for waste yarn—turning the material into knitted dolls. Employees made and sold dolls, generating proceeds that were then donated to a nonprofit foundation. Interface expanded the project beyond the company to benefit the local community in Thailand’s Surin province by teaching the craft to community members, providing them with a new potential source of income.