Interface founder and zero waste guru dies from cancer

Zero waste pioneer and founder of carpet tile firm InterfaceFLOR, Ray Anderson, has died at his Atlanta home from cancer at the age of 77 years.

Sustainable leader: Ray Anderson

Sustainable leader: Ray Anderson

Interface was established in 1973 by Anderson, who died earlier this week (8 August), after he recognised the need for flexible flooring in office spaces.

A joint venture between British company Carpets International (CI) and a group of American investors to produce and market modular floorcoverings was initially led by Anderson before Interface was formed.

Under his leadership, Interface became a pioneering company for sustainable and green business after the green initiative 'Mission Zero', which aimed to achieve zero waste, zero impact and zero footprint by 2020 was launched in the early 1990s.

According to Anderson, his aim was to eventually operate Interface in "such a way as to take from the earth only what can be renewed by the earth naturally and rapidly, not another fresh drop of oil, and to do no harm to the biosphere. Take nothing. Do no harm."

In an interview with Grist in 2009, Anderson said that Interface was halfway to meeting its targets. He added that Mission Zero had been good for business by helping to reduce overhead costs and attract new customers.

President and chief executive officer of Interface, Dan Hendrix, said: "Interface and the world have lost a great man today.

"Ray was and continues to be our company's heart and soul. His iconic spirit and pioneering vision are not only his legacy, but our future. We will honor Ray by keeping his vision alive and the Company on course."

In his lifetime Anderson gave more than 1,000 speeches on sustainable business and wrote two books on the issue of sustainability in the hope of encouraging more businesses to work in a greener way.

Interface's European sustainability director, Ramon Arratia, will be speaking about the company's zero waste achievement at edie's Sustainability Leaders Forum on 3 November at the Hurlingham Club in London.

Carys Matthews


| zero waste


Waste & resource management
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