Remembering Ray Anderson’s Legacy to Sustainability

Ray Anderson
Ray Anderson, CEO of Interface at his company headquarters, in West Point, GA/ Photo courtesy Interface, Inc.

It is with a heavy heart that I share that our colleague and friend, Ray Anderson, has passed away.  Ray served on the President’s Advisory Council at the National Wildlife Federation for many years and was both an astute businessman and friend to the environment and NWF.

In Ray’s book Confessions of a Radical Industrialist he shared how he took his carpet company Interface from a petroleum-intensive business to a company that reduced its environmental footprint while doubling earnings.

In 1994, Ray experienced an epiphany, something he described as a “spear in the chest” moment that fundamentally changed his perspective. Seeking inspiration for a speech on Interface’s environmental vision, Ray read Paul Hawken’s The Ecology of Commerce and was deeply moved. Ray then set a new course for Interface toward sustainability.

Interface’s Mission Zero® commitment is a promise to eliminate any negative impact Interface has on the environment by 2020, including using 100% renewable energy. This bold mission will be his legacy to industry, the environment, and future generations. Below, watch Ray’s last interview to learn more about his courageous vision for a sustainable future.

I will miss Ray. Through his passion and vision, he showed that businesses can improve their bottom lines and do right by the earth. Please share your own memories of Ray in the comments below.