How flooring manufacturer Interface is cutting carbon pollution

Large companies should prioritize climate change, Interface's chief sustainability officer says.

 Carpet and flooring

(Image credit: Interface Carbon Neutral Floors video)

In the 1970s, when the late Ray Anderson started a carpet company called Interface, he did not consider its climate impact.

But Erin Meezan of Interface says that changed two decades later.

“One of the first green building projects was being built in California,” she says, “and we were trying to sell our flooring products into that. And the customer was asking us, ‘What is your company doing for the environment?'”

The answer then was “nothing,” but it was a turning point for Anderson, and he began making climate change a priority.

“He challenged the business to set a course to zero impact,” Meezan says.

Now almost 90% of Interface’s energy comes from renewables. It’s also slashed water use and landfill waste by about 90%.

Most recently, the company developed a carpet backing from plant oils and resin. Plants absorb carbon as they grow, so Meezan says by using them as a raw material, Interface can make products that store more carbon than is used to produce them.

She challenges other companies to follow Interface’s example and make solving global warming a priority.

“We need to greatly accelerate the ambitions of companies on carbon,” she says. “If we can do it as a billion-dollar flooring manufacturer, anyone can do it.”

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.,11 December 2019 on YaleClimateConnections