Inside Interface's Bold New Mission to Achieve 'Climate Take Back'

At the National Exposition of Contract Furnishings, better known as NeoCon, Interface, the Atlanta-based carpet company, plans to roll out its next corporate mission. In the process it plans to set a new marker for what it means to be a sustainable business.

“Climate Take Back,” as the new mission has been named, is the successor to Mission Zero, the name given to a vision articulated in 1997 that, for most outside the company, seemed audacious at the time: “To be the first company that, by its deeds, shows the entire industrial world what sustainability is in all its dimensions: People, process, product, place and profits — by 2020 — and in doing so we will become restorative through the power of influence.”

Over time, that sentence turned from an aspirational statement to a set of goals designed to “eliminate any negative impact Interface has on the environment by 2020”: zero waste, greenhouse gas emissions and net water use; 100 percent renewable energy; a closed technical loop, via product takeback and 100 percent recycled or biobased materials; and other goals related to transportation, stakeholder well-being and business models that “redesign commerce.”

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