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Interface speaks at the European Commission energy meeting today

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Rob Boogaard

Earlier this year, Maroš Šefčovič, Vice President of the European Commission, started his “European Energy Tour” at the Interface manufacturing site in Scherpenzeel, The Netherlands. Mr. Šefčovič talked to the team about a number of European Commission priorities, one being the European Energy Union which has been formed to ensure Europe has secure, affordable and climate-friendly energy. This Union champions wiser energy usage and drives growth and an investment in Europe’s future.

Today, Europe imports more than half of its energy making the EU the largest energy importer in the world and resulting in high energy prices for European industries and consumers. This has driven the Energy Union to champion the following:

1/Letting energy flow freely across borders – Establish a European Energy Union by connecting infrastructure enforcing legislation and increasing competition. This will help drive down costs for businesses and citizens and boost economic growth

2/Securing energy for all citizens – Work to prevent energy shortages, diversifying sources of energy imports and ensuring a united European voice as part of the negotiations to improve energy security

3/Energy-efficient products, jobs and skills for tomorrow – Help to mobilise additional investment in power grids, renewable-energy installations and other energy infrastructure

4/New energy technology – Improve energy efficiency, especially for buildings; with a binding target of 30% less energy use by 2030. Coordinate the Commission’s efforts to ensure the EU reaches its climate and energy targets for 2020 and 2030.

The “European Energy Tour” provided a number of discussion topics for the EU dignitaries and invited stakeholders to understand how the Union would support their environment.

Maros Sefcovic and Rob Boogaard

During his visit with Interface in Scherpenzeel, Mr. Šefčovič saw first hand  that ambitious energy reductions and renewable energy solutions are within reach, asserting Interface’s sustainability leadership in manufacturing and its progress towards ‘Mission Zero’.


The European Energy Tour just finished a few weeks ago and the content collected has helped to inform the first State of the Energy Union report, which is launched, today, November 18th, in Brussels. It  maps the progress achieved and outlines where a political push is needed for 2016.

We are very pleased to learn that Mr. Šefčovič considers his visit to Interface as one of the highlights of his European Energy Tour. As a result, our EMEA CEO Rob Boogaard has been invited to:

1/ take part in the European Commission video that will be used to communicate the State of the Energy Union report

2/ participate in the panel discussion today, 18th November, in Brussels, as a member of the Prince of Wales’ EU Corporate Leaders Group in support of the launch of the Energy Union report.

Having reduced its carbon footprint with more than 90% and running its European operations with more than 95% renewable energy, Interface is pleased to help articulate that ambitious sustainability targets are not only possible; they pay off.  As such, Interface fully supports projects, such as the EU Energy Union project, that quickly bring us closer to a thriving low carbon economy

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RSPB puts the final nail on the voluntary crap

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The RSPB has released a report researching that voluntary environmental schemes have performed very poorly. Donal McCarthy, who led the research, the largest assessment on this topic, found several findings including the following:

– Voluntary approaches, which were liked by the administrations because they are cheaper to manage, are not performing. 80% of them did perform poorly on one indicator or more.

– The majority of schemes had unambitious targets or failed to deliver.

– Many had low rate of private sector participation.

I’ve been arguing for a long time that the main solution is old school legislation (but done in a smarter way), focus on legislating at product level and play with tax and incentives.

Let’s end the voluntary crap now. David Cameron said once ‘cut the environmental crap’. The only thing that is crappy in the environmental movement is the belief that with voluntary action we will achieve progress.


edie talks to Nigel Stansfield about how #sustainability affects recruitment

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edie PR sustainability recruitmentIt’s obviously always great to see your efforts in the press and this piece from edie makes us proud. In this interview Nigel Stansfield talks to edie about how our stance on sustainability affects recruitment efforts.

“Most people wouldn’t think twice about working for a carpet tile company, but they’ll jump at the opportunity to work for a sustainability leader,” he said. “Particularly now the millennial workforce is coming in, and the generation after that, they’re trying to align personal beliefs with the beliefs of the company they work for.”

Stansfield said that the average service time for an Interface employee in the European business was approaching 15 years. The average time that people stay at any given company is around five years.

He added: “Using this Mission Zero journey we’ve been able to retain people, but we’ve also been able to attract a massive amount of talent into the business. That’s all the way across the business, not just in innovation and sustainability.

“We have sales people, operations guys, senior leaders, who leave good jobs elsewhere to come and work for us, and many of them cite the values and purpose of the business as a key reason for joining us.”

Nigel Stansfield – our chief innovation officer will be among the expert speakers at edie’s ninth annual Sustainability Leaders Forum which takes place on 19 November at the Hotel Russell in London.

Read the full article from edie here.

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Global Impact of Biophilic Design in the Workplace

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Should a ‘work’ place be any different from the other spaces people inhabit? The relationship between individuals and their environment can be a crucial determinant of how they feel, perform and interact with others. So, designing spaces that inspire, energize and support the people who use them is a global imperative. People’s connection to nature – biophilia– is an emergent field that can help organisations meet that challenge.

The Infographic – Global Impact of Biophilic Design in the Workplace:

Global Impact of Biophilic Design in the Workplace

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Make Your Pledge With The UK Green Building Council

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climate pledges hashtag

The upcoming climate negotiations (COP21) in Paris this December could be a vital turning point in the global battle against #climate change.

The UK Green Building Council is catalysing private sector action to help ensure a positive outcome from COP21 and encourage greenhouse gas emissions reductions at the pace and scale required in the built environment.

A pledge is simply a commitment which demonstrates the ambition of your business to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the built environment. What will you do>? Make your pledge here.

The #ClimatePledges video is at UK-GBC Climate Pledges.

What is COP21?

COP – or the Conference of Parties – is an annual meeting of the 195 participating countries in the UN Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC). This year’s COP is the 21st meeting, hence COP21, and will take place in Paris, France, from November 31 to December 11.

It will seek to finalise a treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol, the legally binding agreement on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol had 192 signatory countries, and ended in 2012, while the second commitment period, which only had the support of 37 countries, expires in 2020.

It is hoped that a new treaty agreed in Paris will include all major polluters and begin in 2020. It will be made up of voluntary emissions reductions targets called ‘Intended Nationally Determined Contributions’ (or INDCs), pledged by each country, that will collectively constitute sufficient emissions reductions to keep global temperature increase within 2 degrees Celsius. To date, more than 100 countries have submitted INDCs.

Buildings Day will be part of the official COP21 negotiations proceedings, and the Buildings Day Alliance – which includes WorldGBC – will respond to the outcome of COP21 and help create the global momentum and action required to transform the building sector.

For more information on the #ClimatePledges campaign, contact

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Eat apples – Green Apple Day of Service

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It is that time of year when again when the ‘Green Apple Day of Service’ (GADOS) is showing up in our calendars.

I don’t know where the name “Green Apple Day” comes from, but I must admit that I really like this symbolic dimension of the apple, especially for me, French citizen, it echoes even more as I always remember Jacques Chirac’s campaign for the French Presidency back in 1995, the apple became the symbol of his campaign : everybody was adopting the slogan “eat apples!”, it started as a joke, but it became huge, and it’s strongly acknowledged now that it helped him win the elections.

So are you ready to eat apples this year ?

The Green Apple Day movement is getting bigger and bigger :

GADOS 2014_Infographic

GADOS is a global partnership between the Green Building Councils and Interface which started in 2012 to raise the awareness on the subject of health and sustainability in schools. The idea behind the movement is to ‘put all children in schools where they have clean and healthy air to breathe, where energy and resources are conserved, and where they can be inspired to dream of a brighter future’. The aim for this year is again to gather as many Interface associates as possible around this global movement. The services can be provided to schools – from primary to university – and can be very diverse. There are as many projects as ideas!

It’s the third year in a row that we take part to this worldwide event as Interface EMEA and I’m pleased to share some early adopters feedback :


St Mary’s school, Northern Ireland, September 2013

“Our last presentation in St’ Marys went really well! We presented to 50 children and they were really, really interested as were the teachers, you could have heard a pin drop during the presentation. The age range of the children was 9 years to 11 years. They had never previously considered that fishing nets were discarded into the ocean and they were aghast at the fact that the discarded nets floated around in the sea killing animals. Their school is situated beside two fresh water lakes and they could really relate to the subject as there are a lot of local fishermen living and working in the area. We brought along some samples of yarn and some carpet tiles and the children really enjoyed seeing and feeling the texture of those.”  Orla Hoy, Health, Safety and Environmental Manager, Interface.


Veronica Kingsley, account manager at Interface, in a London school, september 2014

Veronica Kingsley, account manager at Interface, in a London school, september 2014


Jean-François Espinasse, Sales Director, Southern Europe, talking in a School in the region of Paris, France

Jean-François Espinasse talking in a School in the region of Paris, France, February 2015

“My wife works in our town public library and is in charge of hosting school children every month and makes them discover a new subject. Interested by Interface’s GADOS initiative, she offered me to spend two days with her and to tell six different classes/grades about the Net-Works story backed up with our videos, some nets, plastic bottles and a couple of carpet tiles and shade cards. The age range of the children was 8 years to 12 years. We delivered our story to approximately 120 kids. Conclusion: very inspiring but far more difficult than delivering the story to an end user or an architect because you can not hide behind words, you have to be genuine and simple. Definitely, I will engage in more sessions like this.”  Jean François Espinasse, Sales Director Southern Europe/Segmentation EMEA

This year, we propose a “common education project”, about waste/recycling/net-works that all Interface collaborators are encouraged to present in their kids’ schools ! But we also give the possibility to people to propose some free carpets to refurbish some library corners etc… Again, there are as many projects possible as ideas !

Take a look at !

So will you join the movement ?

I will !



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What’s wrong with ISO 14001?

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ISO-noI’m all for standards, legislation and regulation but only the right kind, where real value is added to the communities they serve. The new ISO 14001:2015 standard falls woefully short.

This revision sets out the criteria for an environmental management system and can be certified to. It maps out a framework that a company or organization can follow to set up an effective environmental management system.

So why am I not a big fan?

Reading the latest on this new version takes me back to the 90s when the norm was simply doing anything was something useful. Mainly because there was so little to guide us.

Today it’s not just about process, targets and legislation compliance. And ISO 14001 is such a low starting point. Companies who have not started on their sustainability journey should start by doing a Life Cycle Analysis. I wonder how many consultants are profiting from selling management systems instead of doing LCAs and offering strategic sustainability advice?

Dear consultants, please recycle yourselves and offer some proper added value. From natural capital, LCA, shift in services, to alternative raw materials – there are a huge number of useful products and services you can sell to companies.

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Designing Sustainability – #InterfaceSpeaks THE Hangout

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The industry has taken great strides towards the goal of reducing CO2 emissions by redesigning products that use and emit energy. However, businesses must also be embrace radical innovations that reduce the embodied carbon of their products.

With this in mind, Interface hosted the Google Hangout as captured above to discuss its recently published whitepaper, which was authored by Ramon Arratia, based on the need for businesses to significantly cut CO2 emissions in Europe by 2030.

In this video:

– Ramon Arratia, Director of Sustainability at Interface
– Dr Craig Jones, Director of Environmental Sustainability, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), Carbon Footprinting at Circular Ecology
– Fritz Lietsch, Editor in Chief at Eco-World
– Cédric Borel, Managing Director at Institut Français pour la Performance du Bâtiment
– Richard Smokers, Principal Advisor Sustainable Transport and Logistics at TNO

The panel debate three key topics, outlined in the whitepaper;

– Money talks: Incentivise through regulation
– Create demand: The role of voluntary standards
– Make the magic happen: Measure and evaluate

Designing Sustainability: Embedded carbon as the magic metric

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The Embedded Carbon As Magic Metric

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Carbon in the product lifecycle

From November 30th to December 11th, 2015, will the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21/CMP11) take place in Paris. COP21 will be a crucial conference, as it needs to achieve a new international agreement on the climate, applicable to all countries, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C.The stakes are high: the aim is to reach, for the first time, a universal, legally binding agreement that will enable us to combat climate change effectively and boost the transition towards resilient, low-carbon societies and economies.

There are a few things we need to solve if we really want to tackle the problem of the carbon.
The industry has taken great strides towards the goal of reducing CO2 emissions by redesigning products that use and emit energy. However, businesses must also embrace radical innovation that reduce the embodied carbon of their products.
This whitepaper titled “Three steps to transforming the carbon impact of manufactured goods” shares some solutions for industries and states to take action.

You can download the pdf on the below link :

pdf-image Designing Sustainably