Ray Anderson, founder and chairman of global carpet manufacturer Interface… talked of his crusade to transform his petroleum-dependent Atlanta-based company into a sustainable enterprise that seeks to never take another drop of oil from the earth.
…Today Interface is the world’s largest commercial modular carpet manufacturer. Anderson said the move 14 years ago had already saved the company $372 million – and they’ve only captured half the potential savings.
Net greenhouse gas emissions are down 82 per cent on 1996 base line levels, yet sales have increased by two-thirds and profits have doubled. Fossil fuel consumption is also down 60 per cent per unit manufactured.
Never take another drop? That’s a serious AA response to oil addiction. I can’t see Helen Clark turning up to his addiction meeting.
The epiphany occurred when he was 60. The industrial company he founded was just over 21 years old. It had offices in more than 100 countries, manufacturing plants in four continents, and had survived three recessions.
“I had no environmental vision. In my whole life, I had never given a thought to what my company was doing to the earth.”
With the address to his team drawing near, a book, Paul Hawken’s The Ecology of Commerce, landed on his desk.
“Within 50 pages, I am a convicted plunderer of the earth. It is a spear to the chest.”
That was August 31, 1994.
And yet we’re still arguing about trying to reach the incredibly modest goal of meeting our Kyoto goal – getting back to our 1990 emission levels. The ETS is a tiny 2% part of the solution. It’s time we see action from someone other than just the Greens equivalent to the type of action Interface is taking.