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On Monday I was saddened to learn that Ray Anderson, chairman of Interface, Inc, passed away at the age 77 after a nearly two-year battle with cancer. For those who don’t know, Ray was the founder and chairman of Interface, Inc, the Georgia-based carpet company that has set has what many believe to be the highest sustainability benchmark of any industrial company – that is, “to take nothing from the earth that is not renewable, and doing no harm to the biosphere.” Quite an ambitious vision for any organization, let alone for a billion dollar carpet company, in a resource-intensive industry, with global customers, operations and supply chain.
I, personally, first discovered Ray several years ago in his book “Mid-Course Correction” in which he recounts his awakening to the importance of environmental issues and outlines the steps for his petroleum-dependent company to become a more sustainable enterprise. In the book, Ray describes the “spear in the chest” moment that would launch countless speeches that he would subsequently make around the world, along with two inspiring books.
Ray possessed the unique ability to communicate difficult subjects in a simple and understandable way. I learned that sustainability was not black and white, but rather, it is an integral part of every business and society, no matter where you live or work. It was through that narrative combined with his vision, sincerity and self-awareness that he re-created similar “spear in the chest” moments for me and countless others.
Thank you Ray for your inspiration and invaluable contributions to this world.
+1! He was truly an inspiration! I don't understand is why the Interface brands don't promote his sustainability message more heavily to consumers. I find myself making the connection for people all of the time that didn't know this about FLOR - it's like a best kept secret. I think it would be even more of a differentiator for them. www.flor.com/sustainability