Monday, July 19, 2010

EcoMonday: Flor-ing it to a greener workspace

We've already told you a little bit about some of the steps that we take to make our workspace more sustainable. Turns out, one of the biggest answers is right under our feet.

Pop quiz: Which one of the items in the this photo contributes most to our sense of CSR? It's not what you think.

We use Flor carpeting in our facilities, and we'd like to tell you why: We do it because Flor not only looks great, it's also part of one of the most forward-thinking sustainability movements around. While some major corporations are just now getting behind corporate social responsibility, Flor's parent company, Interface Global, has been doing it for over a decade now, starting with CEO Ray Anderson's (pictured below) 1994 promise to take nothing from the planet that can't be replaced by the planet.

Photo via Interface

That sounds pretty lofty, and the goal that Anderson has set for Interface matches that expectations: Anderson wants Interface to be a zero-impact company by the year 2020. (In March of this year, the company launched a year-long metrics measuring program, so it could better gauge how it's doing in its quest. You can read those results here.)

Okay. Now you know a little bit more about Interface, and why we chose Flor. But realistically, what does that mean for a sustainable office? It all breaks down to the steps that Flor's taken.
  • Work with the best: Flor only works with sources that share its vision of sustainability. To that end, it also is constantly on the lookout for new materials that will break down, or recycle into new carpet tiles.
  • Reduce, reuse, renew: Flor's manufacturing system is tight. There's very little waste. All Flor tiles can be returned to Flor for breakdown into new carpet tiles. Its modular system (you buy batches of Flor tiles to make up a wall-to-wall carpet, or a rug) means that if you spill something on a tile, you just replace that one section of the carpet or rug.
  • Closed-loop sustainability: From beginning to end, the entire Interface company works to reduce its impact. Everything is as locally sourced as possible, and employees even participate in sponsoring the planting of nearly 100,000 trees in order to offset the carbon footprint of things like air travel and commuting.
We like what we see at Flor, and we think it's a pretty good model to use. In the end, what it says to us is that the most quotidian of things can be sustainable, and that sustainability can be a great business model.

Interface's project is called Mission to Zero, and you can take a look around at its drive to get consumers to participate here. For more on sourcing low-VOC carpet, you can visit the Carpet and Rug Institute here.

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