Leading by Example: InterfaceFLOR

Who would have imagined that the humble carpet tile would become a hotbed of innovation on the road to a more sustainable future?


Late Ray Anderson, the founder of InterfaceFlor and a self-described "Radical Industrialist", was one of the most vocal proponents of environmentalism’s role in business. Anderson set a seemingly radical goal for the firm: “Mission Zero,” a commitment to eliminate any environmental impacts by the year 2020. Shortly before his death in August 2011, he estimated that the company was more than halfway towards this vision.

"When we set the goal to eliminate all of our negative impacts on the environment, we knew it was aspirational," explains Ramon Arratia, Sustainability Director. "Our people have embraced this vision, and we've achieved progress beyond our imagined success. However, we do not have all the answers – some solutions are still being imagined, and others are complicated to implement or financially arduous."

Interface is a fascinating example of how industry-led competition, rather than consumer demand, has been such an important engine of change. Join Ramon Arratia from Interface who will be offering some reflections from their pioneering journey.



Ramon Arratia, Sustainability Director, InterfaceFLOR EMEAI
Ramon Arratia provides direction and leadership for Interface in the area of sustainability across the EMEAI region.

His focus as Sustainability Director is to help the company achieving Mission Zero (InterfaceFLOR’s promise to eliminate any negative impact it may have on the environment by 2020), at the same time as helping Interface develop products and services with radically reduced impacts such as the Biosfera collection.

Ramon plays a leading role in Interface’s approach to full transparency, which calls for companies to declare all the environmental impacts and ingredients in all their products through Environment Product Declarations (EPD). A key advocate of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), he is campaigning for the transformative role LCA has not only for companies but for public procurement, government policy, supply chains, customer engagement and eliminating greenwash.

He is also leading Interface’s lobbying efforts to ban the landfill of carpet and flooring waste across the European member states as well as advocating to radically increase Europe’s resource efficiency through close and open loops.

Before joining InterfaceFLOR, Ramon spent five years at the Vodafone Group, where he was responsible for the Group’s Corporate Responsibility communications including the multi-award winning CR Report. He completed an MBA at Warwick Business School in 2008, an MSC in Quality Management in 2000 and a degree in chemistry in 1998, which give him both business and communications expertise as well as in-depth understanding of some of the more technical aspects of sustainability.


23 April 2013, from 12.30 to 13.30 CET

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