Ray Anderson was the founder and chairman of Interface Inc. Anderson’s goal was to make Interface a sustainable enterprise. However, this new idea challenged the people in Interface and their way of thinking. In order to find a solution, they began experimenting with new behaviors that go with the underline values of sustainability. This took over the course of eleven years. During that time Interface when through five phases of changes. These phases are called awakening, cocooning, metamorphosis, emergence, and engagement.
The first phase started in 1994, when a group of customers asked an Interface employee about their environmental policy. This cause a lot of frustration because the truth was that there was no answer. To solve this problem, Interface form a task force to find answers. The task force asked the Interface founder Ray Anderson to give a speech about his views on the company’s environment policy. Anderson wanted to give a meaningful speech but was frustrated because he didn’t have an environmental vision that made sense to him.
While Anderson was trying to think of ways to deliver his speech, an employee gave him a book title “Ecology of Commerce” written by Paul Hawken. In this book, Anderson came face to face with his traditional ways, business responsibility, and unique idea presented by Hawken. After he read the book, he questioned whether or not he can do this. After a while he decided that he was going to try.
With that comes an awakening meaning a new understand about the industry and the environment.
This would result as a new vision for his company. During his speech on August 31, 1994, he challenged the company to “lend the way to the next industrial revolution by becoming a sustainable industrial corporation and, eventually, a restorative enterprise.” This was the start of a ten year process to make Interface sustainable.