Interface, Inc. began life in1973 when founder, Ray C. Anderson, recognised the need for flexible floorcoverings in the modern office environment.
In response to the needs of the commercial office sector, Anderson led a joint venture between British company, Carpets International Plc. (CI), and a group of American investors to produce and market modular soft-surfaced floorcoverings.
And with this Interface was born.
On its first day in business, the new company had only 15 employees, and was immediately faced with the challenge of the sharply rising cost of petrochemical, which was a key raw material in the carpet industry at the time.
Meeting demand and continuing to grow
Modular carpet tiles continued to grow in popularity and by 1978 Interface sales had reached $11 million. The company went public in 1983.
In 1987, the company’s name was changed to Interface, Inc. With its acquisition of Heuga Holdings B.V. – one of the world’s oldest manufacturers of carpet tiles – Interface became the undisputed world leader in modular flooring.
Over the years, the company’s growth has been augmented by more than 50 acquisitions.
A change of direction
In the mid-1990’s, Anderson took the decision to completely shift the company’s strategy, aiming to redirect its industrial practices to include a focus on sustainability without sacrificing its business goals.
He wrote his first book, entitled Mid-Course Correction, in which he discussed his own awakening to environmental concerns and presented a model for how Interface would become truly sustainable by 2020. He called this Mission Zero.
In 1994 Interface founder Ray Anderson recognised that the way industry worked was fundamentally unsustainable. Ray could see how much of the Earth’s valuable natural resources industry used up and threw away, with too little regard for the future.
He saw that waste from industrial processes polluted the environment and emissions from energy use were causing global warming. He knew this culture couldn’t continue without serious environmental and social repercussions.
Ray’s epiphany revolutionised Interface’s business strategy from that day forward, and has characterised the company’s development ever since.
Interface is on a mission to become the first fully sustainable company
Interface are striving to be the first company to be fully sustainable – with zero negative impact. They call this Mission Zero and they believe this will be achieved by 2020.