Interface case study
After founding Interface in 1973, Ray and his company revolutionized the commercial floorcovering industry by producing America's first free-lay carpet tiles. Now, Ray has embarked on a mission to “be the first company that, by its deeds, shows the entire industrial world what sustainability is in all its dimensions: People, process, product, place and profits — by 2020 — and in doing so, to become restorative through the power of influence. He’s leading a worldwide effort to pioneer the processes of sustainable development.
Today, Interface is the world leader in the design, production and sales of modular carpet, and a leading producer of broadloom carpet and commercial fabrics.
The entrepreneurial drive and competitive spirit that in 1973 drove Ray to found Interface was the same catalyst for an environmental awakening that has once again transformed an industry. Today, Interface stands at the forefront of a new industrial revolution. The company has reduced its environmental footprint significantly, redesigning processes and products, pioneering new technologies and reducing or eliminating waste and harmful emissions while increasing the use of renewable materials and sources of energy.
From corporate offices in Atlanta, Ray serves as Founder and Chairman of a globally positioned company whose core business is still modular soft-surfaced floorcoverings. Interface has diversified and globalized its businesses, with sales in more than 100 countries and manufacturing facilities on four continents. In addition to carpet tiles and broadloom carpet marketed under several brands, Interface also manufactures commercial panel and upholstery fabrics.
While Interface is noted in its industry for its commitment to high quality design and innovation, the company is recognized as a leader in the green business movement. Inspired chiefly by Paul Hawken's treatise, The Ecology of Commerce, Ray heightened the company's awareness and led changes in technology in an effort to move toward being environmentally sustainable. Admittedly, Interface is not there yet; however, the company is developing processes and technologies to get it there. What this means, primarily, is learning to harness solar, wind, biomass and other forms of green energy and providing raw material needs by harvesting and recycling carpet and other petrochemical products, while eliminating waste and harmful emissions from its operations. Ray believes that if Interface, a petro-intensive company, can get it right, it will never have to take another drop of oil from the earth. The philosophy guiding Ray's passion for this cause is simply that it is not only the right thing to do, but the smart thing, too.