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Ray Anderson Lead Business Down A Sustainable Path

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Ray Anderson passed on recently and price of clomid in canada click here we lost a great business leader that showed us all that a greener business can be a better busness that shows improved performance on multiple bottom lines.  He earned the SLM Green Hero Award for his work on sustainable busness.

Known for his advanced and progressive stance on industrial ecology and sustainability Ray Anderson was described by many as the greenest CEO in North America. A pioneer and visionary, Ray has lead the viagra professional 100mg way by not only transforming his successful carpet and floor covering company into one of the most sustainable corporations in existence but also by actively sharing his experience with other organizations and government.  We owe Ray a debt of gratitude for setting an example of what can be done to create sustainable organisations that make sence.

Ray Anderson, CEO Interface Inc.Ray Anderson is the author of a novel titled Mid-Course Correction. about his journey up what he calls “Mount Sustainability”. By demonstrating how he was able to increase profits by going green in his business Ray is a perfect example of the kind of radical industrialist who has been leading the corporate green revolution.  Ray Anderson died recently but he was the founder and chairman of Interface Inc..  'Interface' is the largest carpet manufacturer in the world and one of the greenest.

Not always a friend of the environment Ray had his epiphany in 1994, when he read The Ecology of Commerce by Paul Hawken.  Hawken argues that the industrial system is destroying the cialis canadian drug store planet and only industry leaders are powerful enough to stop it.  That year, Ray Anderson vowed to make his company the world's first truly sustainable business, with a carbon footprint of zero by the year 2020.

His intention is to do business, make money and protect the environment at the same time.  A decade later Interface is halfway to Rays sustainability goals and making even more profit.  So now, Ray is spreading the word. He's been in the documentary 'The Corporation,' which criticizes how big companies operate and he's been part of Leonardo DiCaprio's environmental documentary  'The 11th Hour.'  Today, Ray travels the world - talking about corporate sustainability. He's also put together a 100 day action plan for the environment for the President of the United States.

Ray recently commented on the business community’s progress toward sustainability as “moving ahead but at a glacier pace” He was asked how this could be accelerated and he responded, “There are two ways. We can hold up the really good examples that clearly demonstrate you don’t have to choose between the economy and the environment. It’s a win-win -- if approached intelligently. We can actually help the environment and find a better way to make a bigger profit. The other way is probably through the regulatory/legislative process creating the incentives that will inspire business to move more quickly.“

When Ray and his team started down this path they new it was no small task. Ray described it in a recent interview with the editor of Green Living Magazine.

alt“We looked at the challenge and said it’s a mountain taller than Mount Everest -- it’s Mount Sustainability. The top symbolizes where we really want to get to: Zero Footprint, Zero Environmental Impact. How do you climb this enormous mountain? Well, one step at a time. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. We studied the mountain very carefully for over a year and realized this mountain has at least seven faces and we have to climb each face and meet at the top. That’s how we become sustainable. Along the way we just might create an example that other companies will want to follow. We become restorative, not just by what we do but what we influence others to do as well.
We began to tackle the face of mountain we identified as waste. We defined waste, by the way, as any cost that we incurred that does not add value to our customer and that translates to doing everything right the first time, every time. It’s not just waste material, scrapped and low quality and so forth. If you send something to the wrong destination and have to get it back and reship it -- that’s waste. If you incur a bad debt -- that’s waste. So we defined waste very broadly and over time we actually said that any energy that comes from fossil fuel by our definition is waste and we need to eliminate it. We really began to think in different ways about our business in terms of climbing this mountain and it became very clear very quickly this was the smart thing to do. Not only did we start to generate answers for those customers, they embraced us for what we were trying to do. The goodwill in the market place has just been stunning. The rest of the business case is pretty simple. I cost it down not up.
Eliminating waste -- that one face of the mountain -- has avoided costs of some 353 million dollars over a 10 year period. And that has more than paid for climbing for all the rest of the mountain climb -- every capital investment, every process change, every bit of R & D, all of it has been paid for by the waste savings. Here we are 12 to 13 years into this climbing and only here canadian female viagra if we take stock of where we are, we have reduced green house gas emissions by a global company by 90 percent.  Interface keeps looking for ways to do business more sustainable and seeks to reduce and eventually eliminate petroleum from its manufacturing processes all together. Ray has also been pioneering recycling efforts with nylon and polyester which is recyclable, leading to more closed loop technologies down the road. alt

We are close to being a climate neutral company on a global scale. We reduced that waste figure -- that 353 million comesfrom a 52 percent reduction. So, we still have 48 percent to go for the total of zero. Our renewable energy from the electricity side is at 55 percent, total energy is from 17 percent. The goal is 100% by 2020. Materials are about 20 percent coming from renewable resources including recycling products at the end of their first life to give them life after life. And the goal there is 100 percent renewable. So we have this very clear picture of where we want to get to – zero footprint, top of the mountain and seven very distinctly paths to get there.

I mentioned costs being down but I haven’t mentioned that our products are the best they have ever been because sustainable product design has opened up a well spring of information. Our product people are thinking totally differently about how to design the next product. And there have been people through Interface who have just been galvanized around this shared higher purpose. Maslow said it a long time ago, when he talked about the need to for self-actualization that translates into a higher purpose and to be associated with something bigger than yourself. I already mentioned the goodwill of the market place. We couldn’t have bought that with all the advertising, marketing and expenditure.

We have survived the deepest longest recession in this industry’s history and we might not have made it without those advantages of cost, people, product, marketplace support. Here we are, we have come out of that recession and our business is wonderful. All the improvements we were making when they weren’t visible to anyone worked from the outside in. Those improvements have come through as the marketplace has rebounded. Our stock has gone from two to 20 and even the financial have recognized the improvement in the company. So it’s turning out to a win-win situation.“

altThanks to innovative visionaries like Ray Anderson and a growing awareness of the big picture in the corporate sectorreal change may be on the horizon. As Ray put it “CEOs coming away from the economic summits agreeing we have to tackle climate change. I think this is on the agenda in some form or another in every boardroom.“

It is clear to most in the environmental movement that half of our environmental solutions lay in the decision that we all make in our daily lives however the other half lay in the decisions that our business community makes and the direction defined in our public policies.  Ray Anderson was having a significant impact on all three of those sectors and has shown the kind of leadership that can change our collective destiny.

Ray was pretty busy charting the course of his business toward his vision of sustainability but thankfully for all of us, Ray  traveled the country on speaking tours inspiring the business community and the rest of us into venturing down the sustainability path.

A shining example of the profitability of going green Interface is certainly not the only company that has discovered that profitability can be found on the path to sustainability. In future articles we will be profiling other business leaders that have been setting the pace in greening the corporate approach to business.  So bookmark this stay tuned to the SLM’s  Eco Business Section for more inspiring examples of eco ethical business in action.

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