“If not me, then who, if not now, then when?”, echoed in Ray Anderson’s mind, founder of Interface, when he decided to embark his company on a journey toward sustainability. Today, Interface – what started as a petroleum-based carpet business – is known as a worldwide commercial flooring company and global leader in sustainability. Mickael Cornou, marketing director of Southern Europe at Interface, has delivered a masterclass for EMLV students on successfully running a sustainable international business.
“What if all commercial decisions were aligned with what’s best for the environment?” With this question in mind, Ray Anderson – founder of Interface and author of “Business lessons from a radical industrialist” – shifted from just a carpet company’s CEO mindset to a greener vision of the global business environment. Ray Anderson’s declared ambition was for Interface to become “the world’s first environmentally sustainable and restorative company”. For Interface, it was a 26-year journey: establish its brand as a home to sustainability committed innovation. In 2020, as part of its Climate Take Back plan, Interface launched the world’s first negative carpet tile: a quest toward becoming a carbon negative enterprise by 2040.
But what if the next generation of managers, marketers, business developers were inspired by Interface’s environmental vision? Mickael Cornou, marketing manager and sustainable ambassador of Interface, guided EMLV students in an in-class masterclass that included practical insights on the company’s sustainable journey.
How to take back the climate? Interface’s business case
Inspired by its founder’s vision, Interface is on a mission toward reversing global warming. The company’s Climate Take Back plan declines in four strategies: Live Zero, Love Carbon, Let Nature Cool, and Lead the Industrial Re-Revolution.
Carbon negative materials and products, science-based targets, rethinking of factories as forests… Since 1994, the company has been striving to get its factories to ‘zero’ impact, use recycled and closed-loop materials, develop low carbon products, and make its supply chains sustainable.
But more than following a vision, Interface uses a set of performance metrics to drive decisions and actions that would positively impact carbon levels, water, atmosphere, biodiversity, and soil. 2020 UN Global Climate Action Awards winner, Interface is also the first global flooring company to receive third-party validation of its 2030 greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets as science-based by the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi). For EMLV, sustainability commitment has become the only way to deliver business education.
The school’s mission is to “drive innovation in teaching and research to provide a global and responsible mindset and multidisciplinary skills that address the challenges for sustainable business and digital environments.
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