InterfaceFLOR, the leading sustainable carpet company (FLOR and Button Rug), has added a new category called FairWorks to their sustainable flooring options. This time, sustainability wasn't the only aspiration, but InterfaceFLOR made sure their new products are also socially responsible. The collection promises new sustainable materials and traditional skills from around the world in the shape of unique, eco-luxury flooring. Karin Laljani, vice president and European marketing chief, explains: "Instead of giving supplier communities philanthropic donations we are developing trade relationships, and hopefully that will lead to a sustainable business relationship."
The idea was born in 2004 when the company, already committed to sustainability, decided to design products that would save the rapidly disappearing traditional skills and the culture of the almost three billion people around the world living on less than the equivalent of 2 dollar each per day, by respecting the environment and its people. An ambitious task InterfaceFLOR took on by working with local artists around the world in a fair way.
Speaking to internet publication Point, Karin Laljani explains:
InterfaceFLOR was completely committed to sustainability, but if you looked hard the commitment was not reflected in the way we operated. For example we had nothing in marketing. We could spell the word sustainability and communicate about it but we didn't feel it and it wasn't part of what we did. That was my first challenge; getting the marketing teams to realise it was about how we worked, how we assessed suppliers, how we printed, how we advertised. Everything.
FairWorks combines previous applied methods such as recycling and zero emission with a more holistic approach to sustainability, where the social responsibility is not left out. InterfaceFLOR's 'Mission Zero' is based on three commitments:
• Wherever possible, use natural or recycled raw materials that are found as near as possible to where the products are made.
• Draw on the traditional handicraft skills of the local artisans, fusing
traditional techniques with contemporary practices.
• Increase earning opportunities for local communities. To achieve this, work closely with local organisations and NGOs.
By 2020, InterfaceFLOR is aiming to be a totally sustainable company by having eliminated the negative impact of their company on the environment.
Check out The Story of FairWorks for unique footage about the making-off the new products, and the beautiful inspiration section online. If you are an architect or designer, sign up for a limited edition of a photographic book. If you are curious now about the first FairWorks product, you will have to be patient until April, when the first FairWorks floor JUST will be launched.