Interface commits to being a carbon neutral company by 2020 through the implementation of strategies that reduce the company's net CO2 emissions by 6.7% per year; reaching net zero emissions by 2020 in areas that include, but are not limited to: manufacturing facilities, offices, showrooms, transport and all operations affecting people and product.
Interface began its sustainability journey 12 years ago, and 'sustainability' and 'Interface' are now synonymous for the company. Interface's climate strategy is defined and tracked within a framework called the Seven Fronts: waste elimination, benign emissions, renewable energy, closed loop systems, resource efficient transportation, sensitizing stakeholders, and redesigning commerce.
Interface's climate change goals are best illustrated by its Mission Zero pledge - i.e. its promise to eliminate any negative impact its companies may have on the environment by 2020. This means that it is looking to reduce the GHG emissions from every aspect of its business and products. Interface's Mission Zero commitment is not one 'project,' but is, instead, an integration of this philosophy into a global business model that is focused on all aspects of sustainability, e.g., environmental, economic and social.
Interface has already had significant success reducing its GHG emissions by engaging its employees, suppliers and customers to develop, implement and support GHG reduction strategies. On an absolute basis, since 1996, Interface has reduced its GHG emissions by 35% from its baseline, through improved efficiencies and direct renewable energy purchases. Interface further reduced its GHG emissions by 8% through the purchase of Green-e certified renewable energy credits (green tags) and another 13% from the LaGrange, GA landfill gas project, resulting in a net absolute GHG reduction of 56%. Interface's North American carpet facilities in Troup County, Georgia and City of Industry, California both use 100% renewable electricity to manufacture products, significantly reducing the GHG emissions from those facilities.
Interface looked outside its internal processes and partnered with a local community to develop an innovative project to reduce its GHG emissions. In 2005, Interface celebrated the success of a landfill gas project it initiated with the City of LaGrange, Georgia in 2002. This model project reduces the GHG emissions of a local landfill, while providing a renewable fuel for Interface - as well as economic benefit to the City of LaGrange. In 2005, this project prevented the release of over 23,000 tons of CO2 equivalent.
Interface has also been successful through employee engagement opportunities centered around reducing the GHG impacts of transportation-related emissions. The Cool Commute program allows associates to offset the CO2 emissions related to their personal commute miles, with Interface sharing half of the cost for the offsets. Associates worldwide also participate in the Trees for Travel program, which offsets all of the CO2 emissions associated with business air travel with the planting of trees through American Forests.
Lastly, Interface has engaged its customers to help reduce the GHG emissions associated with the full life cycle of its carpet products. By offering a climate neutral carpet option, Cool Carpet , Interface educates consumers and gives them an option to support climate reductions through a minimal up charge that is used to invest in GHG reduction projects that make the carpet climate neutral. The success of this program, (almost 20% of total sales in 2005), has made Interface one of the largest voluntary purchasers of carbon offset credits in the U.S., thereby lending support to several GHG reduction projects globally.