File this one in the 'how to do it right' category: earlier this week, Interface Inc., the world's largest manufacturer of modular carpet tiles, released their 2007 "ecometrics," measuring the impact of their operations on the planet. Among the impressive numbers: greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are down 82 percent from the 1996 baseline, while total energy intensity (use per unit of output) is down 45 percent from 1996. In a nutshell, these numbers mean that they've learned how to make more carpet with less energy, emissions and pollution.
In addition to typical financial metrics like profit and loss, Interface began tracking their ecometrics in 1996, measuring energy and water intake, waste streams, greenhouse gas emissions, and raw materials streams, to evaluate its progress towards the goal of sustainability and doing business in ways that minimize the impact on the environment.Creating cleaner carpets: behind the numbers
The use of recycled and bio-based raw materials increased to 25 percent of total raw materials used in 2007. This percentage is expected to increase as a result of InterfaceFLOR's recently introduced technology that allows the company to recycle some Nylon 6,6 carpet face fiber.
Water intake per production unit in manufacturing facilities is down 75 percent from 1996 levels, which is key in drought-stricken communities in the U.S. where Interface manufactures, including Georgia and California.
Total waste sent to landfills has decreased by 66 percent from 1996 levels. In a related metric, Interface has diverted 133 million pounds (60 million kg) of used carpet from the landfills since
1996 through the company's ReEntry program, now efficiently recycling both carpet backing and face fiber.
It's "cool" to be green
Interface has a pretty diverse collection of climate neutral products and employee engagement programs
After its introduction in 2006, Interface sold a record 26 million square
yards of Cool Carpet, their third party verified climate neutral carpet, in 2007. The carpet was made climate neutral through the purchase of 390,000 metric tonnes of verified emission reduction credits to offset the entire life cycle of the products sold.
On the employee side of things, their Cool CO2mmute program had a participation rate of nearly 20 percent; the company's program to neutralize carbon emissions from personal commuting was responsible for planting over 7,000 trees through American Forests, and over 500 trees through Tree Canada. Cool Fuel and Trees for Travel, two programs that reduce the impact of commuting and business travel, also continued to grow.
We mention all of these numbers not just because it's important to know which businesses are making a concerted effort to reduce their impact, but to show that, when it comes to "going green" as a business, it takes more than just a green-tinted product line or slick marketing scheme; it's about taking positive steps from top to bottom, products to employees, manufacturing to each individual computer. Interface may not be quite perfect, but they're doing pretty well, and we'll look forward to bigger and better numbers next year. ::Interface, Inc. and ::Interface Sustainability
More Interface carpet coverage:
Interface Carpet Tiles
Cool Carpet from Interface
Interface, Ten Years Green
Interface Wins "Energy Partner of the Year" Award
Interface's Newest Design: Button Rugs