Interface's 1994 mid-course correction steered the company away from the typical take-make-waste business model toward one that’s renewable, cyclical, and benign.
That Interface is about change was clear from its inception, when Ray Anderson staked his career on the unprecedented concept of modular carpet tile. Two decades later, in 1994, Ray had his legendary “spear in the chest” epiphany. He shook the foundations of the petroleum-intensive carpet manufacturing industry by declaring that Interface was committed to becoming the world’s first environmentally sustainable—and, ultimately, restorative—company.
A new focus emerged: to radically redesign processes and products and to pioneer new technologies and systems that reduce or eliminate waste and harmful emissions while increasing the use of renewable materials and energy sources. Interface established its Mission Zero® promise to eliminate any negative impact the company has on the environment by 2020 and, supported by our entrepreneurial spirit, we’re well on our way to achieving it.
If we’re successful, we’ll spend the rest of our days harvesting yester-year’s carpets and other petrochemically derived products, and recycling them into new materials; and converting sunlight into energy; with zero scrap going to the landfill and zero emissions into the ecosystem. And we’ll be doing well ... very well ... by doing good. That’s the vision.
– Ray Anderson, 1997