“…there is no more strategic issue for a company, or any organization, than its ultimate purpose. For those who think business exists to make a profit, I suggest they think again…Surely it must exist for some higher, nobler purpose than that.”

– Ray Anderson

Hero of Sustainability:

Ray Anderson

Ray Anderson founded Interface, the company that makes carpet tiles. He was a serious businessman, focused on building his company and making great products. Then he read Paul Hawken’s book The Ecology of Commerce. Something clicked: with his company’s global reach and manufacturing footprint, he was in a position to do something very real, very important, in building a sustainable world.

Anderson focused the company’s attention on sustainable decision-making, taking a hard look at suppliers, manufacturing processes, and the beginning-to-end life cycle of all its products. They call this drive Mission Zero: “our promise to eliminate any negative impact our company may have on the environment by the year 2020.”

Anderson, who died in August 2011, estimated that since 2001 he’d given more than 1,000 speeches making the business case for sustainability. He led from the front and then worked tirelessly to encourage other businesses to transform to sustainability.