Interface declares its entire product portfolio carbon neutral. The worldwide modular flooring company and global leader in sustainability, is the first international manufacturer to declare that all of its products – including all carpet tile and luxury vinyl tile (LVT) – are carbon neutral across the entire product lifecycle.
The company is now offering its Carbon Neutral Floors™ programme as standard to every customer at no extra cost to help them meet their own sustainability goals, while also allowing them to reduce the emissions impact of their projects or spaces. Interface estimates it will offset 400,000 metric tons of carbon emissions in 2018 as part of the programme, equivalent to the carbon absorbed annually by nearly half a million acres of forest.
Interface is committed to reducing carbon emissions from building materials and products, known as ‘embodied carbon,’ which contribute significantly to greenhouse gas emissions in the built environment. The Company also intends to initiate a new conversation in the industry and create opportunities for customers to directly address global warming with a flooring specification decision.
In keeping with its more than 20-year commitment to sustainability, Interface has taken a holistic approach to carbon neutrality, looking beyond carbon emissions from manufacturing to considering and calculating emissions across the entire product lifecycle. This begins with raw materials and continues through manufacturing, transportation, maintenance and ultimately end-of-life product takeback and recycling through ReEntry®, and other disposal methods. Because Interface has already reduced the carbon footprint of its products to the lowest levels in the industry based on publicly available data, it is economically viable – and more importantly, environmentally responsible – to achieve carbon neutrality through the supply chain of the products and the purchase of carbon offsets.
“Interface has spent the last 24 years focusing on eliminating our own environmental impact. As we embark on our new Climate Take Back™ mission, we now have a more ambitious goal to reverse global warming. We cannot do this alone, and our customers have come forward asking how they can participate,” said Erin Meezan, Interface’s Chief Sustainability Officer.
“Architects and designers, flooring contractors and end users are beginning to see that their decisions – the products they specify and buy – have a direct impact on our climate. By specifying Interface products, they can do their part to address embodied carbon. And, we need to work together to elevate embodied carbon as an opportunity and to shine a light on those that are taking the lead. Now with every purchase, our customers are joining us in this important endeavour,” Meezan concluded.
Through the Carbon Neutral Floors programme, Interface will also offer to provide information to each customer to help them understand the carbon impact of their purchase. For each flooring purchase, the company can calculate the estimated carbon reductions and present that documentation to the customer at the project or total global purchase level. For example, for every 1,000 square meters of Interface flooring sold, the company will offset carbon emissions equivalent to a car travelling 25,000 miles, or one trip around the Earth. Interface will also offer to provide tools to promote their leadership with key stakeholder groups, including their employees.
Since 1994, Interface has worked arduously to reduce every product’s environmental impact – reducing the average carbon impact of its products by an estimated 60%. Addressing the remaining carbon impacts has led to offsetting more than 4 million tons of carbon dioxide since introducing carbon neutral carpet tiles to the market in 2002 through its original Cool Carpet™ programme in the Americas. To reach carbon neutrality for all products globally, Interface calculates all remaining greenhouse gas emissions for the entire lifecycle of its products and invests in verified emission reduction projects located all over the world to offset them. These projects have included reforestation, addressing deforestation and degradation, wind-based power generation, low-impact run of river electricity generation, and improved household charcoal stoves. The program is verified annually by independent third-party auditors.
Says Jay Gould, President & CEO, “At Interface we’re convinced a fundamental change needs to happen in our response to the biggest threat to humanity – climate change. We believe that humanity has the power to change our climate and decide what happens next to our planet. We may have changed the climate by mistake, but we can change it through intent. We have the tools, the ideas and the ingenuity to ensure every living thing on this planet can benefit from a climate fit for life.
“Take Love Carbon for example. The buildings in which we work, learn and sleep are a key cause of global warming, accounting for a third of global carbon emissions. But it doesn’t have to be this way. What if we saw carbon as a resource rather than a problem?
“Across the world there is a movement seeking to re-imagine our relationship with carbon. For a comprehensive exploration of the potential of carbon dioxide removal to create a climate fit for life, check out this recent New Yorker article by Elizabeth Kolbert.
“In May 2017 we unveiled our Proof Positive concept tile, the world’s first carbon negative carpet tile. Through the use of plant-derived carbon and creating closed loops for the materials’ reuse and recycling, this prototype locks in carbon to the extent that this tile stores more carbon than it emits during its production.
“In 2017 Interface successfully lobbied for tougher recycling standards in the state of California with Gov. Jerry Brown signing AB 1158 into law. We took to task our competitors and our industry’s trade association. We felt we had to take a stand. It was the right thing to do for our customers. This law represented a monumental step toward widespread reclamation and recycling. Through our ReEntry® program we recycle our products and those of our competitors. For two decades recycling has been a cornerstone of our commitment to Mission Zero and remains key to our plans to Live Zero going forward.”