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Posts tagged 'sustainability'

Time to look at product portfolios from the sustainability perspective?

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More and more companies are measuring the environmental impact of their products holistically, through life cycle analysis, and as a result many are making significant changes to the products they sell. There is also a movement towards measuring natural capital in order to have the full account of companies and products. These are great steps in the right direction towards product sustainability. But it’s one thing to make more socially and environmentally friendly products and services available; quite another to get customers to buy these instead of less sustainable options that are often cheaper or more familiar.

What’s the point in a company developing a AAA-rated eco-product that only sells in small quantities while its far more environmentally damaging B-rated product is still on the market and sells 50 times as many units?

It’s often been argued that as long as companies give consumers a choice, then it’s down to the consumers to make the ‘right’ decision. But experience tells us that we can’t rely on consumers to do this. Survey after survey demonstrates that consumers habitually claim they will take social and environmental issues into account when buying goods and services, but sales figures show that these good intentions are often forgotten by the time they get to the checkout.

The ‘ethical consumer’ does exist, but only in small numbers.

product portfolio from the sustainability perspective

This is why governments are increasingly stepping in to edit the choices that consumers are given, by creating rules of the game that favour a transition towards more sustainable products. Often this means cutting out the worst offenders in the market either by directly banning certain products or by setting a minimum standard – as with European measures on incandescent light bulbs or the REACH regulations on chemicals. However, such initiatives only cut out the end tail of the curve.

Governments can also facilitate the adoption of the best products, for example by committing to buy them in their public purchasing programmes. That increases the length of the tail at the other end. Even more interesting is when governments try to push the whole curve towards the right, for example by setting up tax incentives and penalties designed to promote the sale of more sustainable products. The bonus-malus tax on cars in France and the company car taxation scheme in the UK are examples of this. But sometimes just the creation of a legal requirement for labelling of the sustainability performance of products can do the trick. The EU labelling laws on white goods have been successfully pushing consumers towards AAA rated products for a long time.

We should not always, however, be waiting on governments to show the way.

It’s up to companies as well. Businesses that want to push the sustainability agenda cannot be content to delegate leadership to the government or consumers. After all, the ultimate sustainability brief of a company is to drive its entire portfolio towards its most sustainable products. The first step towards doing this is to introduce more sustainable products into a company’s portfolio, which can be a significant feat in itself for some types of products. But the next step is to manage that portfolio by editing consumer choice. That means removing more damaging products and services from the market while progressively convincing customers to buy the more sustainable ones. Unfortunately this idea of companies managing their entire portfolio is hardly heard in the current sustainability debate.

Who can push for portfolio management?

The most obvious actors who can push for portfolio management are the companies manufacturing and supplying products and services, and the retailers who sell them. Either party can lead the way. If retailers show little interest in changing what they sell, then supply companies can force them into it by default by managing their own portfolios and therefore changing what they are offering for sale. But if supply companies are dragging their heels, then retailers can galvanise them into action by refusing to stock certain products. Ideally both parties will take an active role in sustainable portfolio management, with retailers finding that companies are increasingly providing them only with products that have lower impacts, and retailers increasingly deciding to inform companies that they will not stock certain higher impact items.

Corporate portfolio management

If a company is serious about reducing its life cycle impacts, firstly it has to create products with lower impacts and secondly it needs to sell more of those products and less of those with a higher impact. Put simply, it must sell more of the good stuff and less of the bad. Sometimes the damaging effects of a product are clear and immediate. For example, a number of chemical companies, including Henkel, have adopted a socially responsible stance by removing ingredients such as toluene from adhesive products that can be misused by solvent abusers. And of course they then don’t then leave the ‘bad stuff’ on the market – that would defeat the purpose.

Taking such affirmative action usually protects a company’s reputation, prepares it for future legislation and can give them a commercial advantage in some markets. Of course it’s good if a company starts, in this way, to sell more sustainable products. But we need to understand how a business’s entire portfolio behaves. Even if sales of good products do very well, it’s no good if sales of bad products are continuing to increase at the same time.

A popular eco-products story has been GE’s ecoimagination – the drive to increase GE’s portfolio on technologies for sustainability, such as wind turbines or efficiency solutions for buildings. GE announced revenue goals for these technologies when it launched ecoimagination. But it also had goals for advancing the sales of other, less desirable technologies – such as piping materials for the oil and gas industries. So it’s not clear whether the average footprint of GE’s entire portfolio will decrease over time.

Another high profile eco-products story has been Philips’ Ecovision, under which they have set themselves a 2015 target of a 50% energy efficiency improvement for their average total product portfolio compared to 2009. This is a much better approach. Showing improvements in sustainability performance of the whole portfolio in this way will be a must for companies in the future. And it won’t be as difficult to achieve as at fist it might sound. At Interface Europe we managed to cut our average product carbon footprint by 27% in just four years from 2008 to 2012.

Retailer portfolio management

Any life cycle analysis carried out by a retailer will reveal that the biggest impacts of its activities are not in its own operations – the running of its stores – but in the embedded footprint of the goods and services it sells. A supermarket can make its lighting and its refrigeration as energy efficient as possible, but it’s the stuff that it puts on the shelves that makes the real difference. This means that to make any significant difference to environmental impacts, retailers must take on some accountability for what they are selling – by making sure they don’t sell the really bad stuff, by pushing their suppliers to give them more sustainable products, and by encouraging customers to buy them. The pre-requisite for this kind of portfolio management – or ‘choice editing’ – is for retailers to demand Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) from their suppliers for each product they sell.

Because these EPDs are based on life cycle analyses, they allow products to be compared in a meaningful way. But you don’t need full EPDs to see the bigger picture. After all, it’s no good fiddling about at the margins to produce small gains when you can make much more significant progress at the core. According to Tesco, for instance, the carbon footprint of a class 1 carrot is 80g CO2 per 100g of serving, while the impact of a Scottish carrot is 84g. Who cares about that difference when the footprint of a 100g serving of beef is a massive 1,000g CO2? Surely Tesco should be trying to encourage people to eat less beef and more carrots?. And for that matter, shouldn’t they be helping us to shift from high fat, high sugar diets to healthier options? Those shifts should, arguably, should be at the core of a supermarket’s environmental and social responsibilities.

Choice editing can be easy

It’s actually very simple for retailers to begin choice editing. The UK do-it-yourself retailer B&Q has seen this, and it has already begun to edit its product portfolio on sustainability grounds. For example, after life cycle analyses showed the extreme energy inefficiency of patio heaters, it simply took the decision not to sell them any longer. It may have lost some short–term income by withdrawing patio heaters, but it also gained many plaudits. However, in the words of the UK Sustainable Development Council, choice editing is not just about cutting out unnecessarily damaging products; it’s also about ‘getting real sustainable choices on the shelves’.

Providing such choices doesn’t have to be about bringing completely new products to the customer – it can be about making sure the best products are the only ones available. A number of UK supermarkets now stock 100% fairtrade bananas, so customers who want to buy bananas have no choice but to buy fairtrade. The same happened over a number of years with FSC-certified wood, to the point where it has now it’s become European law to stock only such material.

There are plenty of other areas where retailers can show strong, positive leadership. What excuse is there, for instance, for a retailer to be selling anything other than electrical appliances with A+++ energy efficiency ratings? If Walmart decided only to stock the most energy efficient A+++ appliances tomorrow, imagine what difference that would make to the thinking of manufacturers who are its suppliers – and to Walmart’s overall footprint. It would also make it easier for governments to ban all rating categories but the most efficient ones.

But portfolio management is also about what you don’t yet sell. If supermarkets have expanded to adjacent markets such as mobile phone contracts or motor insurance, then surely they can expand into products that are solutions to social or environmental challenges? IKEA, for instance, has just become the first large retail chain to start selling solar panels – with the express purpose of trying to transform consumers’ attitudes to energy (as well as making money). With the same aims in mind, Sainsbury’s is providing loft and cavity wall insulation to customers, as well as solar panel installations.

Asset portfolio management

Portfolio management isn’t just about products and retailers; they are just the most obvious examples. A similar model can be applied to services, and indeed investment and asset management. Many asset managers already edit their investment portfolios by avoiding controversial investments in companies that manufacture cluster munitions, for example. Apart from specific ethical investors, the list of ‘no go’ areas remains pretty limited for most mainstream investors, but this model could be extended to a less black and white approach, actively promoting more sustainable investments and choosing not to invest in less sustainable activities. For assets such as property, for instance, the environmental options are very clear.

Where do we go from here?

None of this is rocket science – we just need the willpower. But it does mean changing mindsets: moving away from measuring performance at corporate level to measuring the company’s entire portfolio on a life cycle analysis basis. And it means shifting from the idea of producing a few high-profile green products designed to catch the public’s eye and towards mainstreaming of those green products. It also means taking on the moral responsibility of trying to influence the behaviour of consumers.

To help us on our way, we must remember that this kind of portfolio management already goes on all the time. Companies change their product ranges continually; they drop old models and bring in new ones. Department stores choose to put 15 different types of kettle on sale, not the full range of 515 available to them. So the only radical thing about sustainability portfolio management is the ‘sustainability’ part. That’s what we need to get to grips with, and the quicker we do so, the more dramatic will be the results.

Of course there are some potential pitfalls, but these are not insurmountable. If retailers or manufacturers are earning lots of money by selling or making higher impact products, then they need to be careful about how they make the switch. When Iceland, the UK frozen food retailer, tried to move overnight to selling organic food, large numbers of its customers walked away – and it had to reverse its decision. But the lesson here is not that portfolio management doesn’t work – it’s that it has to be carefully managed. Companies and retailers should know their customers and introduce changes over a period of time, helping to educate them about what they’re doing and using all the marketing resources at their disposal.

Key to all this will be transparency of environmental performance, which will help consumers choose products on sustainability factors. People used to buy light bulbs based on wattage; now, increasingly, they are buying them on energy performance. That switch has been achieved by good labelling and by good education. Some of changes will be driven by regulation, others by B2B demand, some by companies and retailers themselves, competing against each other. But the sustainability movement as a whole needs to push in that direction. It provides fertile ground on which to compete, and that is what companies love.

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Is energy storage the real killer?

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A new report from The Carbon Trust says energy storage could save £2.4bn every year in the UK electricity system if some market barriers are removed. Some of the key identified barriers are: policy risks, failure to recognize externality benefits to society, revenue cannibalisation risks, distorted markets price signals, among others.

The analysis, backed by UK department DECC, estimates that around £7bn could be saved annually if energy storage technologies are integrated effectively into the grid system.

Please see the full new report from the Carbon trust.

Recently, the US department for Energy announced good news about breakthrough energy storage technologies, especially for large scale storage.

Please see the full article from the Guardian

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Nudge Global Leadership Challenge 2015

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Below, Jens Christoph Parker (Interface’s company candidate) and I (Laura Cremer, Internal Communications & Sustainability Manager Europe at Interface) share our impressions and insights from the 2015 Nudge Global Leadership Challenge by means of a Q&A. The Nudge Global Leadership Challenge is a development programme and competition for young leaders in sustainability of the future and was held 20th to 22nd November 2015 in the vicinity of Amsterdam. International speakers shared latest insights in the fields of leadership and sustainability. We, as participants gained insight into our own talents and development areas by means of a development assessment, role-plays and case studies.

 

Group Picture - Nudge Global Leadership Challenge 2015

Group Picture – Nudge Global Leadership Challenge 2015 Photo Credit: Visual Storyteller Bibi Veth

 

Q&A Laura & Jens

1) What did you thought when Jan Van Betten, founder of the Nudge Global Leadership Challenge, promised a life changing experience right at the beginning of the conference? Looking back do you think he was right? And if yes, what made the conference to a life-changing experience for you?

Jens: To be honest, everytime somebody promises to me something as big as a life-changing event there are two conflicting thoughts running through my head. On the one hand, I was extremly excitied and impressed by his confidence. On the other hand, I thought this is very bad expectition management. I hope he will be able to live up to his promise. Looking back I am happy to confirm: He did.

Laura: I have visited many conferences and usually there is always a person at the beginning who makes a big promise. So, nothing really new. This time this person was Jan Van Betten, Founder & CEO of Nudge. Well, I have to admit that the Nudge Global Leadership Challenge is not some kind of conference. Even if it sounds weird, there was a special atmosphere from the moment I entered the beautiful venue in Santpoort, about 30 km from Amsterdam and things felt different. It is hard to put into words what happened within the next few days. What I can confirm is that for me, yes, it was a life changing event. It is the mixture of meeting like-minded people from all over the world, being mentally challenged and getting to know yourself a bit better.

2) Looking back, is there an agenda item which influenced you the most? If there is one, why do you think that is the case?

Jens: At one point throughout the challenge we got thoughtfule advice from the kids of The Missing Chapter foundation, e.g. “If you are afraid you will never achieve anything” or “You  should admit that making mistakes is okay, because it can help to find new ideas”. I was truely amazed by the natural wisdom of these kids. It reminded me of the importance of intergenerational dialogue.

Laura: The agenda over the three days was packed and included lots of personal highlights. However, there was one agenda item which touched me the most. In the afternoon of day 1 we were asked to present our leadership ideas for a better sustainable future by means of a catwalk presentation. Although, a long exhausting day was behind us, I was impressed by the abundance of ideas as well as the energy and good spirits in the room. This exercise has shown me again a recalled that everyone of us can make a difference towards a sustainable future in the own scope of influence. Below you can find two pictures showing Jens and I during our catwalk presentation.

 

Jens' Nudge Catwalk Presentation Photo Credit: Visual Storyteller Bibi Veth

Jens’ Nudge Catwalk Presentation
Photo Credit: Visual Storyteller Bibi Veth

 

Laura's Nudge Catwalk Presentation Photo Credit: Visual Storyteller Bibi Veth

Laura’s Nudge Catwalk Presentation
Photo Credit: Visual Storyteller Bibi Veth

3) Throughout the weekend Interface has been mentioned as a good practice example concerning sustainablity. What did you think when that happened?

Laura: Well, I’m biased concerning this question, because I’m employed with Interface. It is part of my role in Interface sharing our sustainability story and experience in this field with external stakeholders. However, every single time it makes me proud coming across Interface in publications, hearing guest speakers like Marga Hoek, CEO Sustainable Business Association, Chairman Sustainable Science Association and author of the management book of the year 2014 ‘New Economy Business’ talking about Interface as a best-practice example during the challenge or listening to our President & CEO, Rob Boogaard sharing our story with my fellow Nudge participants over dinner. It think sharing what Interface has experienced on its journey towards becoming a sustainable enterprise is a huge impact we can have as a rather small company compared to Danone or eBay. For me it is still inspiring listening to what has happened in Interface when Ray Anderson decided to launch ‘Mission Zero’. I hope it felt the same for everyone else in the room.

Jens: I have to admit that I didn´t know Interface before applying for the Nudge Global Leadership Challenge. Throughout the entire experience I was amazed to learn how for Interface sustainability is not a lip service, but a core part of its corporate DNA. Every time Interface was mentioned once more as a good practice example, I was a little prouder to be one of its candidates.

4) Please share 3 good reasons why someone should participate/apply for the Nudgle Global Leadership Challenge 2016?

Jens: The Nudgle Global Leadership Challenge gives you the amazing opporunity to meet inspiring people from all over the world, learn more about your personal strengths and it gives you access to inspring spreakers which share their personal insights.

Laura:
1) You will come across new information and stimuli away from day-to-day business practice.
2) You will get the chance to develop your personality and leadership skills.
3) You will have lots of new like-minded friends on every continent.

5) What was your key take away/what is resonating the most with you 4 weeks after the challenge?

Jens: I am still reflecting on all the amazing things that happened and there are many take aways from this amazing experience. My key take away is the fact that around the world people are taking on the challenge to lead the parth to a sustainable future and I want to be part of this exciting journey. In the next 6 months I want to bring to life my impact plan which I outlined for the challenge. I want to kick start an online community focusing on enabling the potential of sustainble investements.

Laura: I am also still digesting and processing what I have learned. My key take away is that I was reaffirmed that sustainability is the way to go. Within the coming 6 months I am looking forward putting my Sustainability Impact Plan into action, which I committed myself to work on during the challenge. My Sustainability Impact Plan encompasses showing that business can be a force for huge positive change.

 

Impressions Nudge Global Leadership Challenge 2015 Photo Credit: Visual Storyteller Bibi Veth

Impressions Nudge Global Leadership Challenge 2015
Photo Credit: Visual Storyteller Bibi Veth

To close, we would like to thank the entire Nudge Team for unforgettable 3 days and a truly life-changing experience. Thank you Jan Van Betten, Ilse Lettinga, Andrea Steinwinter, Rick Koster and Yori Kamphuis from LeaderScope.nl, Pepijn and Bibi Veth for the wonderful pictures. Click here to see the complete picture diary and to get inspired.

Laura Cremer & Jens Christoph Parker

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AN INTERVIEW WITH DR CHRISTINE LEMAITRE FROM THE GERMAN SUSTAINABLE BUILDING COUNCIL (DGNB)

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Today I am pleased to share an interview with Dr Christine Lemaitre, CEO of DGNB.

The German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB) was founded in 2007. Ever since more than 470 building projects and urban districts in about 20 countries were awarded with a DGNB certificate in either bronze, silver or gold. The DGNB Certification System assesses quality comprehensively over the entire life cycle of a building in up to 50 sustainability criteria from the quality sections ecology, economy, socio-cultural aspects, technology, process work flows and site. The system is based on voluntarily outperforming the concepts and standards that are commonly applied in the construction industry.

DGNB_Lemaitre

 

About: 

Before Dr Lemaitre she joined DGNB in 2009 as Director System, she was Project Director at Bilfinger Berger Construction. From 2003 to 2007 she worked at the Institute for Lightweight Structures and Conceptual Design (ILEK) at the University of Stuttgart where she obtained her PHD. Dr Lemaitre studied Civil Engineering at the University of Stuttgart and started her professional career in the United States.

 

Q1. – What is your definition of sustainability in one sentence?
For me, sustainability means acting in a reasonable and restrained manner.

Q2. – Who is your sustainability hero and why?
There are lots of people who are inspiring. I don’t have one particular hero. Basically, anyone who dares to realise something new and innovative which makes a significant contribution towards the creation of a sustainable environment is courageous and deserves recognition.

Q3. – If you were running a powerful environmental NGO, which issue would be the focus of your first campaign?
As Managing Director of the German Sustainable Building Council – DGNB e.V., an NGO which currently has around 1,200 member organisations, the goal is naturally clear: to ensure greater sustainability in the built environment. As this is a multi-faceted topic, we are constantly working to inform the various actors and increase interest in the subject. The integration of the topic of sustainability with a focus on the built environment into company strategies is particularly dear to my heart. In my view, this is where there is great potential for reaching many people and for making a positive contribution.

Q4. – What’s the worst sustainability claim you ever heard?
“But we have always been sustainable”… This is something we unfortunately still hear far too often today. This kind of statement does not really advance the topic, implying as it does that no further effort is required or desired.

Q5. – What will get us out of this mess? Miraculous technology, tough regulation or self-flagellation?
A healthy mix of several factors seems to us to be the most promising approach. Firstly, of course, we have to point out the appropriate technologies and technical solutions which enable sustainable building. But many changes that are needed will not occur without some pressure. That is why, secondly, we are working politically to try to establish the corresponding framework conditions which reward sustainable building but regulate environmental pollution and the wasting of resources. Thirdly, we must also appeal to people’s awareness and self-interest. We must give those prepared to lead the way the feeling of doing the right thing, and convince those who hesitate of the economic, environmental and social benefits of sustainable building.

Q6. – If you could approve a law related to sustainability which would be your first?
The duty to develop a proper understanding of sustainability. Only those who are informed can make the right decisions. As there is no recipe for success in the area of “sustainability”, we are always reliant on new impulses and approaches.

Q7. – “Sustainable brand” – Admirable ambition or ad-man spin?
A laudable aspiration, if it is taken seriously and deeds follow words. Companies must be measured by their actions.
However, “green washing”, that is to say, pure marketing speak instead of actual reform, is a serious issue. Not only does it do damage to the company purporting to be sustainable in the long term. In the worst case, it damages the public perception of the concept of sustainability.

Q8. – What is your message to the Fortune 500 CEOs?
Do something and then do more! These companies in particular have a major responsibility to lead by example and provide impetus to their staff as well as to society at large. Lasting business success is increasingly based on sustainable management. And it can’t be achieved in a single process, but only by a stringent, strategic reorientation. This requires the personal dedication and courage of top management.

Q9. – What is your favourite sustainability website?
http://www.dgnb.de/en/

Q.10 – And… what is your dirty unsustainable secret?
That is definitely my travel behaviour. I drive far too much and use alternative meeting options, such as video conferencing, far too seldom. That is my own personal improvement objective.

Thank you, Dr Lemaitre for answering our 10 Cut the Fluff questions.

Interface is a founding member of DGNB and has a range of products that can help contribute to DGNB criteria. The leaflet explains how: Interface DGNB Guide

If you would like to find out more about the DGNB certification system, click this link to visit their website.

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Interview avec François Michel Lambert

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François-Michel Lambert, President of the Institut de l’Economie Circulaire (France) and Député EELV joined us on the Interface stand at the green building exhibition Ecobuild last March.

On behalf of Cut the Fluff, we asked him:

If you could approve a law related to sustainability, which would be your first?

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Aquafil USA invests green in being ‘green’

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AquafilWe can not reach Mission Zero without the dedication and support from our key partners. Aquafil is one of these partners. They are currently investing more in green technologies as detailed below, and from their press release I also wanted to extract some key learnings that make our relationship so successful.

Aquafil has been around since 1969 as one of the leading global players, producing polyamide 6, the filaments we use in our floorings, and synthetic fibres others use in sports apparel, the automotive industry and other products.

Aquafil USA is nearing completion of its $25 million expansion to increase its capacity to extrude and process Econyl, its proprietary nylon 6 made entirely from recycled materials, the company is proving that making and marketing 100 percent recycled nylon is financially sustainable as well.

Franco Rossi, company president, noted that in today’s economy, it is slightly more expensive to make nylon 6 through the Econyl system, “But some markets are willing to pay the difference in cost. We believe that over time it will become less expensive because, through the evolution of technology, more improvements will make the process more efficient.”

Currently, Econyl accounts for 30 percent of Aquafil USA sales, with the remainder made up of traditional nylon and some polyester. “Now, Econyl is a premium, niche product,” Rossi said. “Our goal is to become 100 percent Econyl and to deliver it at a price that is equal to other nylons. To do that, we must expand our capacity and become more efficient at collecting the waste materials. Now, Econyl is made up of 50 percent postindustrial (PI) waste and 50 percent postconsumer (PC) waste. The PC is used carpet and discarded fishnets. The fishnets are either discarded into the ocean or in landfills. It’s a good raw material because it is pure nylon,” Rossi reported.

Aquafil USA is a manufacturer of a variety of nylon 6 BCF (bulked continuous filament) yarns, polymers and plastics. The expansion includes adding a second plant in Cartersville, according to Franco Rossi, company president. And as part of its sustainability efforts, it is also adding a post consumer carpet processing operation that will produce nylon 6 “fluff” to be sent to Aquafil’s Ljubljana, Slovenia plant, where it will become Econyl nylon 6, made from 100 percent recycled materials. The expansion, which is expected to create more than 50 new jobs, is slated for completion this summer.

Aquafil is currently making about 4 million pounds of Econyl pellets a month at the Slovenia plant. Aquafil USA then sources its Econyl resin from that plant.

This is Aquafil’s fifth expansion in Cartersville since it added fiber extrusion in 2006. It will move its twisting and air entangling operation to a refurbished 250,000 square foot building, adding additional capacity for a total of 35 million pounds a year.

Fiber extrusion will then expand 50 percent at its Aquafil Dr. plant, increasing that capacity to a total of 50 million pounds per year. The carpet shearing operation, able to process about 50 million pounds of old carpet, will also be added to that plant, Rossi added.

When Aquafil USA was established in Cartersville in 1999, the company leased a small 20,000 square foot building, and began processing fiber it imported from Aquafil Spa, on a few twisters and air entangling machines, according to Rossi.

“We started with solution dyed nylon 6 made in Italy from all virgin materials,” he said. But working to produce sustainable products came naturally to the company. “The parent company is based in Trento, Italy in an especially beautiful location and it was always important to maintain the natural environment, “But when Giulio Bonazzi, current CEO and major shareholder of Aquafil Spa, met Ray Anderson (of Interface) in the mid-1990s, Bonazzi was influenced by Anderson’s concept of how to conduct a sound business without hurting the environment. Today, Interface is Aquafil’s largest customer and the companies work together with Networks and Healthy Seas to keep discarded fishnets out of the world’s oceans by collecting and recycling them into nylon fiber,” Rossi said.

Aquafil set out to create a fully sustainable nylon resin and Econyl, in development for the past three years, is now a reality, Rossi said, explaining, “Econyl is not only a product. It is a system that transforms old used nylon into like-virgin nylon resin and yarn.”

Rossi said that the conventional way to recycle nylon is to re-melt the material and then filter out impurities, but, “That only allows for a somewhat degraded material that can be used for injection molded products but not back into nylon fiber.”

Aquafil’s process is to depolymerize the old nylon back to a single monomer. Aquafil’s system results in very high ratio of nylon output compared to the waste input, making the process commercially viable, according to the company.

Aquafil states, “The new purification process is less complex than the ones applied in the industry, uses less energy and water, creates less residual waste and produces a lot more first-grade nylon. The Econyl system can be used to process the waste nylon 6 over and over, to produce new polymers, whose technical characteristics and quality is no different from virgin materials.”

Elements of our relationship I think worth highlighting:

Inspiration from leaders: Ray and Giulio’s story should be an inspiration for other business leaders.

Clear goals: Setting a target of 100% recycled nylon is very clear!

Commitment: We are committed not just to goals, but to truly engage together and contribute significantly towards our agreed mission.

Alignment: We invest at a premium for the recycled raw material, and as per this example, align with like-minded suppliers.

With thanks to Janet Herlihy and FCW for the press release.

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GlobeScan and SustainAbility’s 20th Anniversary Corporate Leaders Report

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GlobeScan and SustainAbility have just released their 2014 survey of expert stakeholders from business, government, NGOs, and academia, across 87 countries.

I’m proud to say that Interface is the only company to be ranked top 5 every year since 1997 by top sustainability experts. That says quite a lot. Firstly, it’s not a consumer survey, it’s the real experts. Secondly, many companies appear in the ranking when they launch a sustainability initiative, but then vanish the next year because it was too difficult to deliver on the performance and strategies set. Interface was recognised when we launched Mission Zero and still people today are recognising us for its performance, which is the most challenging part.

Click on the image to view the report:

Globescan Sustainability Report 2014

More about GlobeScan and SustainAbility:

SustainAbility is a think tank and consultancy that for over 25 years has catalyzed and supported business leadership on sustainability. Through our agenda-setting research and advocacy, we chart new territory and help business leaders and their stakeholders understand what’s next. Through our advisory services, we help clients understand the shifting landscape of risk and opportunity, develop practical strategies and initiatives, and foster authentic, impactful engagement and collaboration with a range of stakeholders. Learn more at www.SustainAbility.com

GlobeScan is an international opinion research consultancy.  We provide global organisations with evidence-based insights to help them set strategy and shape their communications. Companies, multilateral institutions, governments and NGOs trust GlobeScan for our unique expertise across reputation management, sustainability and stakeholder relations.

GlobeScan conducts research in over 90 countries and is a signatory to the UN Global Compact.  Established in 1987, GlobeScan is an independent, management-owned company with offices in Toronto, London and San Francisco. For more information, please visit www.GlobeScan.com

 

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How do Interface employees think?

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Over the last few weeks Toby Webb from Ethical Corporation interviewed some members of our team and created these audio podcasts.

The interviews capture conversations with key staff members, discussing their roles within the organisation, sustainability, and what makes them tick.

Podcasts (Hosted on YouTube):

Mark Haverlach – Customer Service & Re-Entry Director, talks about logistics here:

And customer service here:

Rob Boogaard – Acting President & CEO at Interface, discusses strategy and sales:

plus engaging policy makers here:

I talk about strategy and progress within Interface here:

Nigel Stansfield – VP & Chief Innovations Officer at Interface, talks about innovation:

Ferdy Thoonen –  – All about account management:

Ton van Keken – SVP Operations Interface EMEA, discusses operations:

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The 2014 CR and Sustainability Salary Survey

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According to Acre, Carnstone & Flag their CR and sustainability sector continues to grow, as does the reach of the survey. This year their CR and Sustainability Salary Survey Report achieved a record 1,200 responses, a 42% increase on 2012. Breaking through the 1,000 respondents mark has added an even higher degree of clarity and validity to the findings.

Result highlights

* 1,200 respondents this year, a 42% increase on 2012

* In-house employees make up the majority of the survey’s sample

* Average salaries have risen in all regions except the Rest of the World and the UK, where they have dropped (slightly)

* On average, consultants are paid £8.7k less per year than those working in-house

* Those working in the Rest of Europe are the highest paid

* 90% of respondents have a first and/or postgraduate degree

* Carbon/energy management is no longer one of the top five activities

* The global average salaries for men and women are £67,859 and £52,201 respectively

* The average female salary has declined compared to 2012

* Over 52% of respondents are satisfied with their jobs and 28% are very satisfied

* 93% of respondents would recommend a career in the sector

Click on the image to open the report:

Salary Survey

About the Authors:

Flag is a creative communications agency specialising in corporate reporting and communications. We work collaboratively with national and international brands from a wide range of industry sectors, as well as public sector and not-for-profit organisations, to provide: corporate reporting, sustainability and communications consultancy, sustainability copywriting and editing, creative information design, digital and in print technical and accessibility expertise, and implementation project management and production. Our 46 employees are based in Cambridge and London and we have held the ISO 9001 quality standard for 17 years. www.flag.co.uk 

Acre is a specialist sustainability recruitment consultancy connecting companies and people across corporate responsibility, sustainability, environment, energy and health & safety to help build the next generation of sustainable business. The company was founded in 2003 to respond to the growing need for sustainability professionals and offers bespoke solutions for recruitment, search and business intelligence. www.acre.com

Carnstone is an independent management consultancy specialising in CR and sustainability. We have broad expertise and advise large, mainly corporate clients on the full range of social, environmental and ethical matters, from tentative first steps through to day-to-day management, strategic planning, measuring performance and corporate reporting. www.carnstone.co.uk 

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