Beliefnet
Fresh Living

forest_interface.jpgI just listened to Ray Anderson (founder of the billion dollar carpet company Interface Global) talk at LOHAS. The entrepreneur calls himself a “radical industrialist” and is my new hero–and already lots of other people’s hero. Among so many other things he has done to make his company as eco as possible way before it was trendy, he had his carpet designers study forest floors and streambeds to “see how nature designs a better floor covering.” And they found total, diverse chaos–that no stick or leaf or square inch was alike.

So they brought that back to work and shifted the notion that every carpet tile has to be alike and perfect to the idea that every tile should be a little bit different. And because of that installing them now uses less waste because they don’t need to cut so many scraps to align nap. And they use less dye because the dye lots don’t have to match perfectly. And since you can also shift the tiles around based on wear like rotating a tire, they need to be replaced less often.

They overrode industry’s “insistence on sameness” to create a better selling,-lower impact, more functional product. So cool. And to find out how to create a carpet that would require zero glue to install, they asked, “How do geckos stay on the ceiling?” Then studied and applied the answer. (They use stickers now that cling from the floor up instead of tile down.)

Anderson then asked everyone to close our eyes and think about the safest, most comforting, peaceful place we could imagine. Then he said, “Raise your hand if your place was outdoors.” And just about every single person did. Any CEOs out there, please take note of his reverence and respect for taking corporate cues from nature–and how Anderson has also made an extra bundle with this intention to help out the planet.

Check out Interface’s sustainability statement and goals.

[Image via: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Grib_skov.jpg]

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