Ray Anderson first came to my attention in the mid-90s, in an article in the Globe And Mail. What struck me about him was his willingness to be bluntly self-critical about his own business' environmental practice.
The outlook normally delivered by CEOs of billion dollar corporations in thepress is all sunny for the next quarter, constant improvement, growth, up, up, up, and do no wrong. It was rare -- perhaps unique -- to see a full-on "mea culpa" in the business pages of a national newspaper.
Valerie Casey, founder and Executive Director of the Designers Accord, used her SXSW Interactive keynote last year as a call to rally the interactive community to create positive social and environmental changes based on sustainability.
This notion fits in very well with Ray Anderson's 7th and final front on Mount Sustainability, "redesigning commerce".
When a homeowner in Toronto, Canada can't keep up with the harvest produced by their trees, some of them let "Not Far From The Tree" know and volunteers come by and pick the fruit.
The harvest is split three ways: 1/3 is offered to the tree owner, 1/3 is shared among the volunteers, and 1/3 is delivered by bicycle to be donated to food banks, shelters, and community kitchens.
Ever dreamed of owning a fleet of cars for yourself or for your business? With car sharing companies like AutoShare and Zipcar now in existence all over North America, you can now take part in the operation of a fleet of often new and very high tech vehicles not as an owner but as a member of a pretty cool club.
An example of "Closing the Loop", Ray's 4th face on Mount Sustainability are the efforts by Naked Pizza chain, started in a 500sq foot "shack" in New Orleans.
The founders designed what they call the healthiest pizza with all natural ingredients without a premium cost. Their pizza shows that local food is good for you without "getting eco" and satisfies people who may only care about how good the pizza tastes.
Ray Anderson's challenge for businesses to join him in the climb up Mount Sustainability includes a commitment to the use of renewable energy which is step 3.
Nissan Canada is an example of a company that now powers its head office with 100 per cent locally produced renewable electricity. They use the generators of a company called Bullfrog Power which injects renewable electricity onto the regional grid to match the amount of power the car company's head office uses.
The second face of Ray Anderson's Mount Sustainability is "Benign Emissions".
There are all sorts of attempts being made in industry to harness wind and solar energy to save money and reduce harmful emissions.
For Ray Anderson, this challenge was met head on at InterfaceFLOR. Where can this lead?
Ray Anderson has 7 stages to climb what he calls Mount Sustainability.
The first one of these is thinking about eliminating waste at work. This can be done more easily than you think. In Canada there is an annual campaign called Waste Reduction Week which has some pretty funny and very short videos featuring Oscar the Grouch to help inspire us.
Sometimes change comes in stages, as is often the case for businesses deciding to “go green”. Interface Global, an international carpet manufacturer, wasn’t always clean and green. But under the leadership of GreenHero Ray Anderson, the business is well on its way to reaching its peak of sustainability.
Ray Anderson is an enlightened business leader who listened to the call of his customers over a decade ago.
When buyers asked what Interface Global was doing to help the environment, Ray had an epiphany; the task at hand required new leadership and bold decisions to reshape production.
Between now and mid-June we will be introducing you to more GreenHeroes who acted on their ideas to bring about environmental change.
We start the year off with webisodes that show how corporate responsibility and green initiatives can go hand in hand.
January 3 - Willa Black - Willa is a Cisco executive and inspiration behind the successful One Million Acts of Green that in 105 days had Canadians reach the goal of 1 million Green Acts to help the planet.