In a charming Southern lilt, Interface founder and chairman Ray Anderson addressed a private gathering last night in Los Angeles, hosted at the LEED Platinum rated home of LivingHomes founder, Steve Glenn. Known widely as the grandfather of corporate sustainability, Anderson basically gave his rapt audience a progress report on how the proverbial climb up the mountain is going. The overall prognosis? There is still a long way to go.
We all know the inspiring story behind Interface, but while the global carpet service might well be on its way to achieving climate neutrality by 2020, sustainability is still not a mainstream concept in the global corporate world. Generally speaking, there are definitely an increasing number of fast followers (in Europe, for instance), but on the other end of the spectrum there are still many large companies that are lagging behind (in Asia, for example).
While the journey for Interface to climb the seven fronts of Mount Sustainability might be 60% completed, there is still a lot that needs to happen in order to reach the critical mass necessary to shift that vast middle group towards long-term sustainability. But as he reminded his audience last night, “there is a bigger way to better profits.”
Anderson lays out the tale of his company’s journey along with his take on corporate spirituality in his second tome, Confessions of a Radical Industrialist. He will be speaking tonight at the Sustainable Business Council‘s event at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management. Stop by to meet the poet-laureate of industrial ecology and pick up a signed copy.