Friday, August 26, 2011

American industrialist who burned a trail in the reduction of his company 's environmental

For most of his many years as head of the world 's largest commercial carpet tile manufacturer was, the American industrialist Ray Anderson, who died of cancer at the age of 77, never gave any thought to the negative impact that its petrochemical company could rely on society or the environment. Then, in 1994, he read a book about the state of the Earth, which radically changed his views. He transformed his company, InterfaceFLOR, a copy of how a multinational can try to significantly reduce its environmental footprint while maintaining or even improving the profitability.

It was set in this way, when the employee reported that customers are increasingly inquiring about the company 's environmental performance. They asked him to give them a lecture on the topic, so that they could be better informed. Anderson did not know what he could say. At the same time landed a book, The Ecology of Commerce (1993), by environmentalist Paul Hawken, on his desk. It was an epiphany, "\ a spear in the chest," said Anderson. "I was amazed at how much I did not know about the environment and the impact of the industrial system on the environment. A new definition of 'hit' began to creep into my consciousness, and made the latent sense of heritage to claim wants. I was a plunderer of the earth, and that's not the legacy we leave behind. "

Shortly afterwards he made his presentation to employees, present with the stunning announcement that the company had a new goal - "to ultimately nothing of the earth that is not naturally and rapidly renewable". What became known as "Mission Zero" was a radical way for mainstream industrial companies, especially in the mid-1990s, and even more ambitious program than presented by small, innovative "ethical" company.

Anderson won over his staff and the work began, as you deliver the goal of zero negative impact to 2020. In 2009, he stated that his company was 60% of the way to achieving the goal. InterfaceFLOR had reduced its water consumption by 75% since 1996 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 44% and a decrease of energy consumption by 43%. It also switched to 100% renewable energy at its facilities in Europe and has 36% of its products from recycled materials, up from 0.5% in 1996. And it managed to remove oil from the manufacturing of its products.

Anderson was keen to see the idea of ??bionics, which, as nature works and then applies the lessons of industrial processes. A study of the leaves on the forest floor resulted in the establishment of carpet tiles with random designs that could be installed in any pattern, whereby waste. The observation of the Gecko helped a way to glue tiles, floors without glue.

While much of what Anderson is initiated now relatively common - even measures like car pooling for employees, flexible distribution of wealth, water and rail, switching to an element of fair trade suppliers and the introduction of sustainability training for employees - his company was burning a trail. It also showed how Anderson was keen to point out that most of the measures were positive on the final result - money. Waste saving innovations in the past 13 years alone saved the company $ 372 million.

After the commissioning of his company on his way to what he called "Mount Sustainability" Anderson always his attention to missionary work around the world. He was one of the major proponents of corporate responsibility, to practice a great deal of what he preached and respects with an existing company rather than a purpose-built for the task. InterfaceFLOR setting up a unit that lent their expertise to other large companies, and Anderson is contributing at least partly to convince executives at Wal-Mart to rethink their social and environmental performance credited. He also wrote influential books, including Confessions of a Radical Industrial (2009).

Anderson, who was steeped in the culture of hard-nosed business, exercised great influence in the corporate sector. Ralph Nader, one of the leading figures in the U.S. Green movement, called him "the greatest educator of his colleagues in the industry, and most knew each motivator, through example and vision for the environmental movement". Anderson, co-chaired by the President 's Council on Sustainable Development during Bill Clinton' s administration, which to him, co-chairman of the President Climate Action Plan in 2008.

The youngest of three children of William Anderson, a postal worker, and Ruth McGinty, a teacher, was born in Anderson, West Point, Georgia. He won a football scholarship at the Georgia Institute of Technology and graduated with a degree in Industrial Engineering in 1956. After initially selling fireworks, he spent more than a decade working in the technical side of the carpet business. In 1973 he was on his own branches in a 15-employee company, which is known as an interface and was later found InterfaceFLOR. The business has brought about the innovative idea to make the UK, durable modular carpet tiles, which could be easily misplaced. It grew quickly beyond the Georgia base to have an international presence on four continents and went public in 1983. By 2010 it had revenues of nearly $ 1 billion and 5,000 employees.

Anderson 's first marriage to Harriet Childs, with whom he had two daughters, Mary and Harriet, ended in divorce. His daughters, he is survived by his second wife, Pat a stepson, Brian, a brother, William, five grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.

. Ray Christie Anderson, industrialist, born 28 July 1934; died 8 August 2011

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