About six months ago Ramon Arratia, head of sustainability for Interface EMEA, asked me to go to their offices in the Netherlands and interview executives from top to bottom of the company about sustainability.
Then between the two of us we somehow lost the audio files.
Then we found them, finally. Phew. So here they are, all eight of them.
I also ran a workshop for them on why social issues matter in the business. The slides are here.
These guys are seriously impressive. But don’t take my word for it. Check out and download the podcasts for yourself by going here on Soundcloud.
Here’s what I learned from Interface:
1) It really is possible to have sustainability in your corporate DNA. Interface is one of only about half a dozen companies of any real size who have done that.
2) You know it’s there not in the headlines, but when you talk about the smaller things with line and account managers. If you want to do a culture audit in your company, this is key to remember.
3) It really is all about humility. Interface have no corporate ego, neither do their people have inflated personal egos with regard to their progress. That matters, hugely.
4) Even a small-ish company can innovate globally. Interface’s work with fishing nets as raw/recycled materials shows you that even smaller firms can make a sustainable global impact in a positive way.
5) Companies that really get this stuff, like Interface, feel the frustration of not yet meeting the scale challenge more than anyone else. They are at the sharp end of the limits of the bad and redundant systems (like energy) that hold us back. They need serious partners to make the changes we all want, sustainable and sticky.
I’ll stop there. Listen and judge for yourself. I will be quizzing their CEO next week again, and I’ll let you know any useful updates.