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Title: Interface's Terratex Makes Impact - Not Imprint - on Environment
Organization: Interface  
Date: Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Region of Impact: North America  
Themes: Business Ethics, Ecological Flourishing
Keywords: sustainability, carpet, environment
Reference No.: 000376
 

Key Ideas

Interface, a highly regarded eco-conscious company, and one of the largest manufacturers of commercial flooring in the world, has created the industry's first post-consumer recycled polyester commercial fabric. Terratex® is made from 100% recyclable or renewable material, manufactured using increasingly sustainable processes, made to meet or exceed industry standards for quality and performance, and recyclable or compostable at the end of it's useful life. Interface believes Terratex makes an impact, not an imprint, on the environment.

 

Innovation

At Interface, CEO Ray Anderson’s inspiration embodies and captures the essence of the promise of sustainability. Interface's novel product, Terratex, was launched by Interface fabrics in 1995. Unveiled as the first commercial fabric brand to be made of 100% post consumer and post industrial polyester and reclaimed wool, Terratex can be used for more than carpeting. It is effective in paneling, upholstery, ceiling tiles, window treatments, acoustical applications and more. In 2003, Interface began purchasing green E-Certified wind energy—enough to produce a million linear yards of Terratex annually. Innovations continue in fabrics with the development of a dye and chemical protocol, created to ensure that the dyes and chemicals used meet the highest environmental standards possible.

Interface Fabrics has also introduced a bio-based Terratex product line derived from corn and they have introduced Resku™, a groundbreaking polyester reclamation program. Taking cues from the earth itself, bio-based fibers or products, such as those comprising polylactide polymers (PLAs), are derived from natural, renewable resources, like corn, rice or beets. The small quantities required for these textile applications do not adversely affect our food supply. Presently, Interface Fabrics is nearing the final development stages for its comprehensive approach to what is a very strategic initiative for the company and the world.

These products are 100% recyclable or biodegradable and compostable. Interface likes to know that it is not leaving anything unwanted behind for future generations. The essence of the Terratex® brand is to diminish the footprint Interface Fabrics leaves on the planet. This commitment symbolizes the company's way of doing business. Interface fabrics continues to spearhead efforts to develop ever more sustainable products. These products respond to the growing need to lessen demands on the environment. The expanded Terratex offerings include fabrics conceptualized and engineered out of recycled, recyclable and compostable materials.

 

Impact

Terratex® Fabrics are available globally through leading fabric distributors, furniture manufacturers and refurbishers. Since 1998, these select textile partners of Interface Fabrics have been making their own important contribution to improving the quality of the environment. They incorporate Terratex into some of their most popular offerings.

The company has also received numerous awards and recognitions for this product. In Floor Focus Magazine's 2004 Top 250 Design Survey, Interface came out on top in their “Green Kudos” category for its carpet tiles and Glasbac® 100% recycled secondary backing. Interface also took first place in their “Green leaders” ranking of flooring companies as green movement advocates.

2002 data showed the percentage of recycled content in raw materials to be 79.9% (0.8% IN 1996); the btus of energy used to make one yard of fabric to be 21909 (30101 IN 1996); the pounds of solid waste generated to make one yard of fabric to be 0.053 (0.0783 IN 1996); the gallons of water used to make one yard of fabric to be 11.13 (14.16 IN 1996); and the pounds of carbon dioxide emitted to make one yard of fabric to be 2.34 (3.53 IN 1996). This has created a huge impact on business and the environment.

The “TOP 250” are leading product specifiers who typically care greatly about the environment, so these high marks for Interface translate into sales. The innovative Terratex® brand of commercial interior fabrics now accounts for a significant percentage of total Interface Fabric production in the U.S.

While the company has reported net losses after taxes for the past four (4) years, the profitability of its products is increasing. Interface Fabrics has embraced its initial path to sustainability in spite of overall losses and are pursuing a commitment to products, processes, people, and its philosophy. This no-turning-back covenant defines who they believe they are and permeates everything they do.

 

Inspiration

"It is the journey as much as the destination" that is important to Interface.

 
Primary Sources
  • Google
  • Sustainability Site
  • Product Site
  • Interface_Report (431.4KB)
  • TerraTEXT5_fnl (437.6KB)
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    The World Inquiry editorial team edited this profile from the original submission of the interviewer or other source. The views expressed do not necessarily represent Case Western Reserve University, the Weatherhead School of Management or the Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit.  More >>