Get to Know Ray
The story is now legend: the “spear in the chest” epiphany Ray Anderson experienced when he first read Paul Hawken’s The Ecology of Commerce, seeking inspiration for a speech to an Interface® task force on the company’s environmental vision. Seventeen years and a sea change later, Ray estimates that Interface is more than half-way towards the vision of “Mission Zero,“ the journey no one would have imagined for the company or the petroleum-intensive industry of carpet manufacturing which has been forever changed by Ray’s vision. Interface is pursuing Mission Zero through the radical redesign of processes and products, the pioneering of new technologies, and efforts to reduce or eliminate waste and harmful emissions while increasing the use of renewable materials and sources of energy. Ray chronicled that journey in Business Lessons from a Radical Industrialist., now available in paperback from St. Martin’s Griffin.
The book describes the Interface journey from Ray’s point of view, a story encapsulated by this 1997 quote from Ray, describing his vision for his company, then nearly a quarter-century old: “If we’re successful, we’ll spend the rest of our days harvesting yester-year’s carpets and other petrochemically derived products, and recycling them into new materials; and converting sunlight into energy; with zero scrap going to the landfill and zero emissions into the ecosystem. And we’ll be doing well ... very well ... by doing good. That’s the vision.”
Ray was a prolific speaker delivering more than 1,500 talks and countless interviews sharing his passion for the Interface story – the business case for sustainability.
His message took him around the world, to big screens and small. Ray first became an unlikely screen hero in the 2004 Canadian documentary, “The Corporation” and in the 2007 film by Leonardo DiCaprio, “The 11th Hour.” He was a master commentator on the Sundance Channel’s series, “Big Ideas for a Small Planet” and was named one of TIME magazine’s Heroes of the Environment in 2007, with a similar honor from Elle Magazine that year. Ray was a sought after speaker and advisor on all issues eco, including a stint as co-chair of the President’s Council on Sustainable Development during President Clinton’s administration, which led to him co-chairing the Presidential Climate Action Plan in 2008, a team that presented the Obama Administration with a 100 day action plan on climate.
The 2009 documentary film, “So Right, So Smart”
is a great companion to Ray’s book collection. View the video trailer here