I. THE SHAPE OF THE NEXT INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION
On a Thursday in April 1996, I was in Boston on a panel speaking to 500 people. The subject was "Planning for Tomorrow," and the panel was about technology's role and impact on the strategic decisions companies make. The discussion was sponsored by the International Interior Designers Association. The audience was about one-third interior designers and two-thirds business people, including some of my company's competitors.
While the subject of the discussion was technology, I think that the audience's understanding of the term probably had to do with the technology in the offices where most of them worked: information technology such as office automation, computers, e-mail, radio mail, laptops, word processors, CADs, telephones, voice mail, video conferencing, faxes, Internet, intranets, websites, and so on. There is an infinite variety of gadgets, networks and servers that helps us do arithmetic faster and store, manipulate, retrieve, transmit, receive and examine information--in written, spoken, picture and virtual reality form. Technology gives us faster, surer information when, where and in whatever form we want it. Understanding the information and using it wisely, of course, is then up to you and me. Technology does not do that for us. We're on our own in developing the wisdom, knowledge and understanding to make the information useful.
That's my mental map of what most people--especially people who work in offices--think and mean when they talk about technology. But the definition of "technology" in The American College Dictionary states:
1a. The application of science, especially to industrial or commercial objectives.
1b. The entire body of methods and materials used to achieve such industrial or commercial objectives.
2. The body of knowledge available to a civilization that is of use in fashioning implements, practicing manual arts and skills, and extracting [emphasis added] or collecting materials.
There's quite a lot there that we don't find if we just look in the office: technology that's not electronic, and not about storing, manipulating, sending, receiving, and examining information. There's chemical, mechanical, electrical, civil, aeronautical and space technologies, construction, metallurgical, textile, nuclear, agricultural, automotive technologies, and now even biotechnology.
I illustrated the point for my Boston audience with an example: I told them that I run a manufacturing company that produced and sold $802 million worth of carpets, textiles, chemicals, and architectural flooring in 1995 for commercial and institutional interiors. We have offices chock full of technology: mainframes, PCs, networks, you name it. And people who are hotelling and teaming, working anywhere, any time. Information technology makes it all possible, hooking us up around the world.
But we also operate factories that process raw materials into finished, manufactured products, and our raw material suppliers also operate factories. When we first examined the entire supply chain comprehensively, we found that in 1995 the technologies of our factories and our suppliers, together, extracted from the earth and processed 1.224 billion pounds of material so we could produce those $802 million worth of products--1.224 billion pounds of materials from Earth's stored natural capital. I asked for that calculation and when the answer came back, I was staggered.
Of the roughly 1.2 billion pounds, about 400 million pounds was relatively abundant inorganic materials, mostly mined from the Earth's lithosphere (its crust), and 800 million pounds was petro-based, coming from either oil, coal, or natural gas. Roughly two-thirds of that 800 million pounds of irreplaceable, non-renewable, exhaustible, precious natural resource was burned up to produce the energy to convert the other one-third, along with the 400 million pounds of inorganic material, into products. That fossil fuel, with its complex, organic molecular structure, is gone forever--changed into carbon dioxide and other substances, many toxic, that were produced during combustion. These substances were dumped into the atmosphere to accumulate, and to contribute to global warming, to melting polar ice caps, and someday in the not too distant future to flooding coastal plains, such as much of Florida and, in the longer term, maybe even the streets of Boston, New York, London, New Orleans, and other coastal cities. Meanwhile, we breathe what we burn to make our products and our livings.
Don't get me wrong. I let that Boston audience know that I appreciated their business! And that my company was committed to producing the best possible products to meet their specifications as efficiently as possible. But my company's technologies and those of every other company I know of anywhere, in their present forms, are plundering the earth. This cannot continue indefinitely.
However, is anyone accusing me? No! I stand convicted by myself, alone, and not by anyone else, as a plunderer of the earth. But no, not by our civilization's definition. By our civilization's definition, I am a captain of industry. In the eyes of many people, I'm a kind of modern day hero, an entrepreneur who founded a company that provides over 7,000 people with jobs that support them, many of their spouses, and more than 12,000 children--altogether some 25,000 people. Those people depend on those factories that consumed those materials. Anyway, hasn't Interface paid fair market prices for every pound of material it has bought and processed? Doesn't the market govern?
Yes, but does the market's price cover the cost? Well, let's see. Who has paid for the military power that has been projected into the Middle East to protect the oil at its source? Why, you have, in your taxes. And who is paying for the damage done by storms, tornadoes, and hurricanes that result from global warming? Why you are, of course, in your insurance premiums. And who will pay for the losses in Florida and the cost of the flooded, abandoned streets of Boston, New York, New Orleans, and London someday in the distant future? Future generations, your progeny, that's who. (Bill McDonough, Dean of the School of Architecture at the University of Virginia, and a leading proponent of "green" architectural design for many years, calls this "intergenerational tyranny," the worst form of remote tyranny, a kind of taxation without representation across the generations, levied by us on those yet unborn.) And who pays for the diseases caused by the toxic emissions all around us? Guess! Do you see how the revered market system of the first industrial revolution allows companies like mine to shift those costs to others, to externalize those costs, even to future generations?
In other words, the market, in its pricing of exchange value without regard to cost or use value, is, at the very least, opportunistic and permissive, if not dishonest. It will allow the externalization of any cost that an unwary, uncaring, or gullible public will permit to be externalized--caveat emptor in a perverse kind of way.
Business writer Paul Hawken and architect Bill McDonough have called for "the next industrial revolution," an idea that, as you can see, I have latched onto, because I agree with them that the first one is just not working out very well, even though I am as great a beneficiary of it as most anyone.
To my mind, and I think many agree, Rachel Carson, with her landmark book, Silent Spring, started the next industrial revolution in 1962, by beginning the process of revealing that the first industrial revolution was ethically and intellectually heading for bankruptcy. Her exposure of the dangers of pesticides began to reveal the abuses of the modern industrial system.
So, by my own definition, I am a plunderer of the earth and a thief --today, a legal thief. The perverse tax laws, by failing to correct the errant market to internalize those externalities such as the costs of global warming and pollution, are my accomplices in crime. I am part of the endemic process that is going on at a frightening, accelerating rate worldwide to rob our children and all their descendents of their futures.
There is not an industrial company on earth, and--I feel pretty safe in saying--not a company or institution of any kind that is sustainable, in the sense of meeting its current needs without, in some measure, depriving future generations of the means of meeting their needs. When Earth runs out of finite, exhaustible resources and ecosystems collapse, our descendants will be left holding the empty bag. Someday, people like me may be put in jail. But maybe, just maybe, the changes that accompany the next industrial revolution can keep my kind out of jail.
I have challenged the people of Interface to make our company the first industrial company in the world to attain environmental sustainability, and then to become restorative. To be restorative means to put back more than we take, and to do good to Earth, not just no harm. The way to become restorative, we think, is first to become sustainable ourselves and then to help or influence others toward sustainability.
When we think of the technologies of the future--sustainability--this issue of absolute, overriding importance for humankind, will depend on and require what I believe are the really and truly vital technologies, whether developed by us, our suppliers, or others like us; the technologies of the next industrial revolution. I don't believe we can go back to pre-industrial days; we must go on to a better industrial revolution than the last one, and get it right this time.
But what does that mean? I have read Lester Thurow's view that we are already in the third industrial revolution. He holds that the first was steam-powered; the second, electricity-powered; making possible the third, which is the information revolution, ushering in the information age. Clearly, all three stages have emerged with vastly different characteristics, and it can be argued that each was revolutionary in scope.
However, I take the view that they all share some fundamental characteristics that lump them together with an overarching, common theme. They were and remain an unsustainable phase in civilization's development. For example, someone still has to manufacture your 10-pound laptop computer, that icon of the information age. On an "all-in" basis, counting everything processed and distilled into those 10 pounds, it weighs as much as 40,000 pounds, and its manufacturers, going all the way back to the mines (for materials) and wellheads (for energy), created huge abuse to Earth through extractive and polluting processes to make it. Not much has changed over the years except the sophistication of the finished product. So I refer to all three of those stages collectively as the first industrial revolution, and I am calling for the next truly revolutionary industrial revolution. This time, to get it right, we must be certain it attains sustainability. We may not, as a species, have another chance. Time is short.
At Interface, we have undertaken a quest, first to become sustainable and then to become restorative. And we know, broadly, what it means for us. It's daunting. It means creating and adopting the technologies of the future--kinder, gentler technologies that emulate nature. That's where I think we will find the model.
Someone has said, "A computer, now that's mundane; but a tree, that's technology!" A tree operates on solar energy and lifts water in ways that seem to defy the laws of physics. When we understand how a whole forest works, and apply its myriad symbiotic relationships analogously to the design of industrial systems, we'll be on the right track. That track will lead us to technologies that will enable us, for example, to operate our factories on solar energy. A halfway house for us may be fuel cell or gas turbine technologies. But ultimately, I believe we have to learn to operate off current income the way a forest does and, for that matter, the way we do in our businesses and households; not off capital--stored natural capital--but off current energy income. Solar energy is current energy income, arriving daily at the speed of light and in inexhaustible abundance from that enormous fusion reactor just eight minutes away.
Those technologies of the future will enable us to feed our factories with recycled raw materials--closed loop, recycled raw materials that come from harvesting the billions of square yards of carpets and textiles that have already been made: nylon face pile recycled into new nylon yarn to be made into new carpet; backing material recycled into new backing material for new carpet; and, in our textile business, polyester fabrics recycled into polyester fiber, to be made into new fabrics, closing the loop. We will be able to use those precious organic molecules over and over in cyclical fashion, rather than sending them to landfills, or incinerating them, or downcycling them into lower value forms by the linear processes of the first industrial revolution. Linear must go; cyclical must replace it. Cyclical is nature's way.
In nature, there is no waste; one organism's waste is another's food. For our industrial process, so dependent on petrochemical, manmade raw materials, this means "technical food" to be reincarnated by recycling into the product's next life cycle, and the next. Of course, the recycling operations will have to be driven by renewable energy, too. Otherwise, we will consume more fossil fuel for the energy to recycle than we will save in virgin petrochemical raw materials by recycling in the first place. We want a gain, not a net loss.
But if we get it right during the next industrial revolution, we will never have to take another drop of oil from the Earth for our products or industrial processes. That epitomizes my vision for Interface.
Those technologies of the future will enable us to send zero waste and scrap to the landfill. We're already well down this track at Interface. We have become disciplined and focused on what is sometimes called the "low-hanging fruit," the easiest savings to realize. We named this effort QUEST, an acronym for Quality Utilizing Employees' Suggestions and Teamwork. In the first three-and-a-half years of this effort, we reduced total waste in our worldwide business by 40 percent, which saved $67 million, and those savings are paying the bills for the rest of this revolution in our company. We are on our way to saving $80 million or more per year when we reach our goals.
We're redesigning our products for greater resource efficiency, too; for example, we are producing carpets with lighter race weights (less pile) and better durability. It sounds paradoxical, but it's actually working, in a measurable way. We're making carpets with lower pile heights and higher densities, utilizing carpet face constructions that wear better in high traffic, but use less materials--a tiny, but important, step in "de-materializing" business and industry, an intriguing aspect of the next industrial revolution. The embodied energy not used in the nylon not consumed is enough to power the entire factory making the redesigned products--twice!
Those technologies of the future will enable us to operate with out emitting anything into the air or water that hurts the ecosystem. We're just beginning to understand how incredibly difficult this will be, because the materials coming into our factories from our suppliers are replete with substances that never should have been taken from Earth's crust in the first place. But just imagine factories with no outlet pipes for effluent and no smokestacks because they don't need them! Paul Hawken and Bill McDonough were the first people I heard articulate this concept.
Those technologies of the future must enable us to get our people and products from Point A to Point B in resource-efficient fashion. In our company alone, at any hour of the day, we have more than 1,000 people on the move, while trucks and ships (and sometimes planes) deliver our products all over the world. Part of the solution will be Rocky Mountain Institute physicist Amory Lovins' hypercar. When this super lightweight, super aerodynamic hypercar is using solar energy for electrolysis of water to extract hydrogen to power its fuel cells and a flywheel, magnetically levitating at 100,000 rpm, in lieu of a battery, or an ultracapacitor with nothing moving and nothing to wear out, to store energy, including recapturing the energy generated in braking the car, with this energy going to power electric motors on each wheel without any drive train to waste energy, we'll be getting there with an important technology of the next industrial revolution.
To complement and reinforce these new technologies, we will continue to sensitize and engage all 7,000 of our people in a common purpose, right down to the factory floor and right out there face to face with our customers, to do the thousands and thousands of little things--the environmentally sensitive things, energy saved here, pollution avoided there--that collectively are just as important as the five big technologies of the future: solar energy, closed loop recycling, zero waste, harmless emissions, and resource-efficient transportation.
Finally, I believe we must redesign commerce in the next industrial revolution, and redesign our role as manufacturers and suppliers of products and services. Already, we are acquiring or forming alliances with the dealers and contractors that install and maintain our products, requiring an investment of some $100 million in the United States alone. With these moves downstream into distribution, we are preparing to provide cyclical, "cradle-to-cradle" (another term borrowed from Bill McDonough) service to our customers, to be involved with them beyond the life of our products, into the next product reincarnation, and the next. The distribution system will, through reverse logistics, become, as well, a collection and recycling system, keeping those precious molecules moving through successive product life cycles.
In our re-invented commercial system, carpet need not be bought or sold at all. Leasing carpet, rather than selling it, and being responsible for it cradle-to-cradle, is the future and the better way. Toward this end, we've created and offered to the market the Evergreen Leaser, the first ever perpetual lease for carpet. We sell the services of the carpet: color, design, texture, warmth, acoustics, comfort under foot, cleanliness, and improved indoor air quality, but not the carpet itself. The customer pays by the month for these services. In this way we make carpet into what Michael Braungart, a German chemist and associate of Bill McDonough in McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry, terms a "product of service," what Paul Hawken (1994) described as "licensing" in The Ecology of Commerce, and what the President's Council on Sustainable Development (1996) calls "extended product responsibility." Walter Stahel (1982), Swiss engineer and economist, was perhaps the first person to conceptualize such a notion.
Environmental sustainability, redefined for our purpose as taking nothing from the earth that is not renewable and doing no harm to the biosphere, is ambitious; it is a mountain to climb, but we've begun the climb. Each of the seven broad initiatives we've undertaken--the five areas of new technologies, plus sensitized people and re-invented commerce--is a face of that mountain. Teams all through our company in manufacturing locations on four continents are working together on hundreds of projects and technologies that are taking us up those seven faces toward sustainability. We know we are on just the lowest slopes of that mountain, but we believe we have found the direction that leads upward.
We've embraced The Natural Step, the frame of reference conceived by Dr. Karl-Henrik Robert (1991) of Sweden to define the system conditions of ecological sustainability, as a compass to guide our people. In the thousands and thousands of little things, The Natural Step is helping provide what we have termed the "sensitivity hook-up" among our people, communities, customers, and suppliers. We want to sensitize all our constituencies to Earth's needs and to what sustainability truly means to all of us. We want to engage all of them.
We started this whole effort in our company on two fronts: the first was focused on waste reduction. That's the revolution we call QUEST. It's our total quality management program, and more; the emphasis is broad. We define waste as any cost that goes into our product that does not produce value for our customers. Value, of course, embraces product quality, and more--aesthetics, utility, durability and resource efficiency. Since in pursuit of maximum value any waste is bad, we're measuring progress against a zero-based waste goal. A revolutionary notion itself, our definition of waste includes not just off-quality and scrap (the traditional notion of waste); it also means anything else we don't do right the first time--a misdirected shipment, a mispriced invoice, a bad debt, and so forth. In QUEST there is no such thing as "standard" waste or "allowable" off-quality. QUEST is measured in hard dollars and, as I said, we took 40 percent, or $67 million, out of our costs in three-and-a-half years. One quick result: scrap to the landfills from our factories was down over 60 percent since the beginning of QUEST in 1995; in some factories, 80 percent.
We've also begun to realize that conceptually it might even be possible to take waste, by its current definition, below zero as measured against our 1994 benchmark. If we substitute one form of energy (solar) for another (fossil), or one form of material (recycled) for another (virgin), we are making systemic changes that create, in effect, negative waste when measured against the old norms. If successful, we will have replaced the old system, now obsolete and shown in comparison to have been wasteful all along, with the new, non-wasteful system. So, to give this new meaning to everyday activities, we have further changed our definition of waste in one category and declared all energy that is derived from fossil fuels to be waste to be eliminated systematically, first through efficiency improvement and, eventually, to be replaced by renewable energy. Even the irreducible minimum of energy needed to drive our processes is waste by this definition, as long as it comes from non-renewable sources. QUEST is a revolution in operational philosophy.
The second parallel effort we've called EcoSense[R]. It focuses on those other four major technologies of the future, together with the thousands of little things and the redesign of commerce. Measurement is more difficult for EcoSense. We're dealing here with "God's currency," not dollars, guilders, or pounds sterling--the field called EcoMetrics[R], a term I coined. Here's an example of EcoMetrics: How do you evaluate the following hypothetical trade-off?. One product consumes 10 pounds per unit of petrochemically-derived material, a non-renewable resource. Another, functionally and aesthetically identical to the first, consumes only six pounds, substituting four pounds of abundant, benign, inorganic material, but through the addition of a chlorinated paraffin. That chlorine could be the precursor of a deadly dioxin. How does one judge the true cost or value (which is it?) of that chlorinated paraffin--in God's currency? That's EcoMetrics. It's perplexing--a scale that weighs such diverse factors as toxic waste, dioxin potential, aquifer depletion, carbon dioxide emissions, habitat destruction, non-renewable resource depletion, and embodied energy. EcoMetrics: we need God's own yardstick, and wisdom, to help us measure where we are, which direction we're headed, and to tell us when we reach sustainability. Dollars and cents alone won't tell us.
In February 1996, we brought these two revolutionary efforts, QUEST and EcoSense, together. We merged the two task forces into one, and formed 18 teams with representatives from all of our businesses worldwide, each team with an assigned scope of investigation. This merger is integrating these closely related efforts and positively changing our corporate culture because it is making us think differently about who we are and what we do. As my associate, Dr. Mike Bertolucci, says, "It is as it you enter every room through a different door from the usual one, so different is the perspective from which you view every opportunity." I call it "piercing the veil" and finding on the other side a whole new world of opportunity and challenges. Today there are more than 400 projects, from persuading our landlord to install compact florescent light bulbs in our corporate headquarters office, to creating new, sustainable businesses within our company.
Other companies, different from ours, will have to pursue different technologies. I believe they must if they expect to survive in the next industrial revolution. In the 21st Century, as the revolution gathers speed, the winners will be the resource-efficient. At whose expense will they win? At the expense of the resource-inefficient. Technology at its best, emulating nature, will eliminate the inefficient adapters.
Meanwhile, the argument goes on between technophiles and technophobes; one saying technology will save us, the other saying technology is the enemy. I believe the next industrial revolution will reconcile these opposing points of view, because there is another way to express the differences between the first industrial revolution and the next. The well known environmental impact equation, popularized by Paul and Anne Ehrlich in their writings, declares that:
I = (P) x (A) x (T)
where I is negative environmental impact, P is population, A is affluence, and T is technology. An increase in P, A, or T results in a greater environmental impact. Technology is part of the problem; this is the technophobes' position. But that is the technology of the first industrial revolution, call it [T.sub.1]. Now the equation reads:
I = (P) x (A) x ([T.sub.1])
What a dilemma! [T.sub.1] is not the answer. [T.sub.1] will not lead us out of the environmental mess, no matter how vigorously the technophiles assert it will. The more technology we have, the greater the impact. Remember that "10-pound" laptop computer and the extractive, abusive processes that produced it.
But just what are the characteristics of [T.sub.1], the technologies of the first industrial revolution? For the most part, they are extractive, linear, fossil fuel-driven, focused on labor productivity, abusive, and wasteful--the destructive, voracious, consuming technologies of the first industrial revolution. And they are unsustainable.
But what if the characteristics of T were changed? Call it [T.sub.2] now, the technologies of the next industrial revolution. Let's say they were renewable, rather than extractive; cyclical (cradle-to cradle), rather than linear; solar- or hydrogen-driven, rather than fossil fuel-driven; focused on resource productivity, rather than labor productivity; and benign in their effects on the biosphere, rather than abusive. And what if they emulated nature, where there is no waste?
Mightn't it then be possible to restate the environmental impact equation as:
I = (P x A) / ([T.sub.2])
Then the technophiles, technophobes, industrialists, and environmentalists could be aligned and allied in their efforts to reinvent industry and civilization. Move T from the numerator to the denominator and we change the world as we have known it. Now, the more technology the better (i.e. less impact). Furthermore, it begins to put the billion unemployed people of Earth to work--working on increasing resource productivity, using an abundant resource--labor--to conserve diminishing natural resources. Technology becomes the friend of labor, not its enemy. Technology becomes part of the solution rather than part of the problem. Again, I credit Bill McDonough for this insight: T must move to the denominator.
What will drive technology from the numerator to the denominator? I believe getting the prices right is the biggest part of the answer; that means tax shifts and, perhaps, new financial instruments such as tradable emission credits, to make pollution cost the polluter--in effect, a carbon tax. In any event, it means eliminating the perverse incentives and getting the incentives right for innovation, correcting and redressing the market's fundamental dishonesty in externalizing societal costs, and harnessing honest, free market forces. If we can get the incentives right, entrepreneurs everywhere will thank Rachel Carson for starting it all. There are new fortunes to be made in the next industrial revolution.
But what in turn will drive the creation of tax shifts and other politically-derived financial instruments? It seems to me that those will ultimately be driven by a public with a high sense of ethics, morality, a deep-seated love of Earth, and a longing for harmony with nature. When the marketplace, the people, show their appreciation for these qualities and vote with their pocketbooks for the early adopters, the people will be leading; the "good guys" will be winning in the marketplace and the polling booth; the rest of the political and business leaders will have to follow. As a politician once said, "Show me a parade and I'll gladly get in front of it." So will business and industry respond to the demands of this new marketplace, and Earth will gain a reprieve.
II. THE PROTOTYPICAL COMPANY OF THE 21ST CENTURY
What will the prototypical company of the 21st Century look like? The company that I want Interface to become--this model for the sustainable enterprise of the next industrial revolution.
Figure 1 depicts a typical company of the 20th Century, such as Interface. The innermost circle, representing what exists within a company, contains people, capital, and processes. Economists often put "technology" where I have put "processes." To my mind, "processes" is the broader word and the better choice. At the core are the company's values. The four elements vary specifically from company to company, but the general pattern holds for all.
[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]
But, of course, no company stands alone. Any company is connected to some important constituencies. In our case, Interface is part of a supply chain, with suppliers and customers and a market. Products flow through that supply chain in one direction; money flows in the other. But the supply chain doesn't stand alone either. It is connected to some other important constituencies.
Suppliers are dependent on Earth's lithosphere for organic and inorganic materials. A very small amount of our raw material is natural, coming from the biosphere. Our processes are, unfortunately, connected to Earth's biosphere by the waste streams and emissions we produce. And the products we make end up too often, at the ends of their useful lives, in landfills, or worse, in incinerators, creating a further pollution load for Earth's biosphere to digest. Carpet in a landfill will last 20,000 years.
We are connected to our community, too. Our people come from there, and their wages return to the community's economy; often they are its lifeblood. Our capital comes from the financial sector; if we are fortunate enough to earn sufficient profits, dividends and capital appreciation are returned to those investors, along with interest to our lenders. Government is part of community, too. We are connected to it through laws, regulations, and the taxes we pay.
With these linkages in place, we have a description of almost every manufacturing company on Earth and, by analogy, many other businesses and organizations. I have called this the Typical Company of the 20th Century. Interface, too, is just typical.
However, we are trying to transform Interface into something different, a sustainable industrial enterprise. I call that enterprise the Prototypical Company of the 21st Century. How do we get there from here, and, in the process, pioneer the next industrial revolution?
We are pursuing the goal of creating the Prototypical Company of the 21st Century simultaneously on seven fronts (see Figure 2) though we are at different stages with each. The first front is Zero Waste [Link # 1]. In pursuit of this goal to attack unwanted linkages to the biosphere, we have launched the effort we call QUEST. In QUEST, any waste is bad, and anything we don't do right the first time is waste. Against ideal operational standards--zero waste--we identified $70 million in waste, based on 1994 operations, representing 10 percent of sales! We set out in 1995 on a mission to cut that in half by the end of 1997, then in half again by 2000 with hundreds of active projects. The listing in the Appendix describes the details of our approach.
[FIGURE 2 OMITTED]
When we get to zero waste, the savings will be much greater because our company will have continued to grow, and the opportunity will also have grown. Further, as we redesign our products to use less and less material and to last longer and longer, we are de-materializing the business and reducing the load on the biosphere at the end of the supply chain.
The second front [see Link #2] is Benign Emissions, to attack another unwanted linkage to the biosphere. We have inventoried every stack and outlet pipe in our company, to see what is going out and how much of it there is, and we are reducing emissions daily. We have identified the world's most stringent regulatory standards and adopted them everywhere we operate.
But we know that to prevent toxic emissions altogether we must go upstream and prevent toxic substances from entering our factories in the first place. What comes in will go out, one way or another. We are just beginning to understand how difficult that undertaking is. Commercially available raw materials are replete with substances that violate the first and second principles of The Natural Step (Robert, 1991). Screening them out and remaining in business is a monumentally complicated undertaking. Yet we must. End-of-pipe solutions are unsustainable; they don't satisfy the principles of The Natural Step. Filters only concentrate the pollution, and then what do we do? We can't throw the filters away. There is no "away." Nothing is destroyed, under the first law of thermodynamics. It will just disperse, under the second law of thermodynamics. Stopping pollution upstream is what we must do, leaving the toxic stuff in the lithosphere where the process of evolution, over 3.85 billion years, put it to make way for us. It must be left there (the Natural Step's first system condition). Bill McDonough says that we must move the filters from the ends of the pipes to our brains, and focus our brains upstream to redesign products and processes.
The third front, Renewable Energy, means eventually harnessing solar energy. In the short term, maybe hydrogen fuel cells, gas turbines, or wind (a form of solar) will run our processes, but eventually we believe it must be photovoltaic (pv) generated electricity. Harnessing renewable energy will attack numerous unwanted linkages, both to the lithosphere and to the biosphere [Link #3], and will allow closed loop recycling, the next front, to produce a net resource gain by obviating the need for fossil fuels for the energy to drive the recycling process. We have declared all fossil fuel-derived energy to be waste and targeted it for elimination under QUEST. The initial emphasis is on efficiency. Amory Lovins' principles are our guidelines, and he is our mentor. Only when energy usage is at its irreducible minimum are we likely to be able to afford the investments in renewable sources. How far can we go? Further than we ever imagined! In one case, through resizing pumps and pipes, we made a 12-fold reduction in connected horsepower for a key production line.
Our first application of photovoltaic power was in our Intek factory in Aberdeen, North Carolina. It is a nine kWp (kilowatt peak) unit that runs one 10 hp motor at a cost of 32$ per kWh. (The cost is primarily depreciation on the capital investment.)A better use of the pv power is to peak shave electrical demand during the hottest part of the day when the air conditioning load is greatest, and realize an effective cost of 15$ per kWh, still four times the cost of fossil fuel electricity. Because it's not cost-effective, the pv array is a symbolic token. Greater savings are coming from natural daylight reflectors that track the sun from horizon to horizon to light the plant with daylight; the tracking is driven by a fraction of the pv-generated power.
Yet, we are pressing on. The next pv project is a 127 kWp unit in southern California to produce the world's first Solar-made[TM] carpet. We think Solar-made will sell, that our specifier customers will love the idea. Who cares if the energy costs a little more, if the product sells and helps Earth even a tiny bit? We're doing well and doing (a little bit of) good.
In Canada we have contracted with Ontario Hydro for "green power" (solar and wind). Even though it costs more, it's the right thing to do. We think Solar-made carpet will sell in Canada, too.
The next front is Closing the Loop [Link #4], to introduce closed loop recycling. Look at the impact this has on unwanted linkages and see the new linkages that come into being. Two cycles are introduced: a natural, organic cycle, emphasizing natural raw materials and compostable products ("dust to dust") and a technical cycle, giving man-made materials and precious organic molecules life after life, through closed loop recycling. The "sustainability link," the part of the technical cycle where closed loop recycling will happen, must be invented and developed. It will be difficult and expensive to do, and we cannot do it alone. We need our suppliers' help here most of all. But look at the power of it! The supply of recycled rather than virgin molecules in the technical loop, analogous to the supply of money in an economic system, will affect directly the resource-efficient "prosperity" of the enterprise. What if everybody did it? It would provide that rising tide that would lift the lowest on the economic scale, because recycling is labor-intensive. Labor for natural resources is a good trade-off that will get better as the prices of petro-resources get right.
This front goes hand in glove with the previous front, renewable energy. What's the gain if it takes more petro-stuff to create the process energy than is saved in virgin raw materials by recycling? If we can get both right, we'll never have to take another drop of oil from the earth. That's the goal. It epitomizes our vision, along with factories with no outlet pipes; except, unavoidably, the next front stands in the way.
Resource-Efficient Transportation, the fifth front [Link #5], is the front that is least within our control and the hardest for us to crack, especially with 100 percent sustainability as the ultimate goal. We can video conference to avoid the unnecessary trip for a meeting, and we can drive the most efficient automobiles available. We can site our factories near the markets they serve, and plan logistics for maximum efficiency. But unless we choose to shut down contact with our customers and go out of business, we are dependent, as are most businesses, on the transportation industry.
The good news is, progress is being made--with electric cars, hybrid gas/electric cars, jet engines powered by hydrogen (coming from biomass or, someday, water), and hydrogen fuel cells that are advancing in efficiency and cost reduction. Peter Russell's "global brain" (Russell, 1995) is waking up, and the transportation industry is part of it. We need to speed the process. We need Amory Lovins' hypercar. At the end of the day, we will have to resort to carbon offsets to completely resolve this one. We have already signed up with Trees for Travel, an organization planting trees in the rainforest, to close the gap. One tree over its life will sequester the carbon emitted in 4,000 passenger miles of commercial air travel. We expect to plant a lot of trees.
The Sensitivity Hookup, our sixth front [Link #6], spawns numerous desirable connections: service to the community through involvement and investment in the community (especially in education), closer relations among ourselves (inside the circle) to get all of us in alignment, and with suppliers and customers. (I use "sensitivity" as Brian Swimme (1988) uses it in his book, The Universe is a Green Dragon, meaning heightened awareness brought about by absorbing a stimulus--an influence--and being changed in the process into a new person.)
This front leads to increases among all, including our communities by way of our people, in the awareness of and sensitivity to the thousands of little things each of us can do to inch toward sustainability, breaking unwanted connections. Ties to the community, our suppliers and customers, and within our organization are all strengthened. We hope our customers will see their role and become engaged in helping us increase our leverage with our suppliers to bring them along.
Community is redefined to include all of the community of life; our people are becoming sensitized to their stewardship responsibility for the treasure of life in all its forms, as well as Earth's life support systems. So we've adopted streams and sponsored a television program to expose the plight of our own Chattahoochee River, one of Georgia's most polluted rivers. We're planting flower and vegetable gardens on our factory grounds and creating bird sanctuaries, too.
The Natural Step becomes our shared framework, our compass pointing the way, and a magnet, drawing us toward the summit of that mountain that is higher than Everest, called Sustainability: The ISO 14001 environmental management system is only a threshold--a given for all our factories. It will help us track our progress.
The seventh and final front [Link #7] calls for the Redesign of commerce itself. Redesigning commerce probably hinges, more than anything else, on the acceptance of entirely new notions of economics, especially prices that reflect full costs. To us, it means shifting emphasis from simply selling products to providing services; thus, our investment in downstream distribution, installation, maintenance, and recycling. These are all aimed at forming cradle-to-cradle relationships with customers and suppliers, relationships based on delivering, via the Evergreen Lease, the services our products provide, in lieu of the products themselves. As a result, we further break the undesirable linkages to the lithosphere and the biosphere, those that deplete or damage. Another highly desired result is increasing market share at the expense of inefficient competitors. But full cost pricing is necessary if those salvaged molecules are to be, financially, worth salvaging to replace virgin petrochemicals.
Enlightened legislation might eventually shift taxes from good things we want to encourage, such as income and capital, to bad things we want to discourage such as pollution, waste, and carbon dioxide emissions. What if perversity could once and for all be purged from the tax code? It must, for the next industrial revolution to put T(Technology) in the denominator. When the price of oil reflects its true cost, we intend to be ready. That would truly change the world as we have known it, especially the world of commerce.
Figure 3 portrays a simplified schematic of the Prototypical Company of the 21st Century. What are its characteristics? It is strongly service-oriented, resource-efficient, wasting nothing, solar-driven, cyclical (no longer take-make-waste linear), strongly connected to our constituencies--our communities (building social equity), our customers, and our suppliers--and to one other. Our communities are stronger and better-educated, and the most qualified people are lining up to work for Interface. Customers prefer to deal with us, and suppliers embrace our vision.
Furthermore, this 21st Century company is way ahead of the regulatory process, which has become irrelevant. The company's values have shifted, too, and it is successfully committed to taking nothing from Earth's lithosphere that's not renewable, and doing no harm to the biosphere. The undesirable linkages are gone!
Sustainable and just, giving social equity its appropriate priority, and creating sustainable prosperity, an example for all, this company is doing well by doing good. And it is growing, too; it is expanding its market share at the expense of inefficient adapters, those competitors that remain committed to the old, outdated paradigm and dependent on Earth's stored natural capital when oil's price finally reflects its cost ($100-$200 per barrel, or more?) The growth is occurring while extracted throughput (materials from the mine and wellhead) is always declining, eventually to reach zero. Only zero extracted throughput is sustainable over geologic time.
It makes such absolute business sense to win this way; not at Earth's expense nor at our descendants' expense, but at the expense of inefficient competitors. Most importantly, we will have proven the feasibility of moving T (Technology) from the numerator to the denominator, making technology part of the solution, and reducing environmental impact. If we can do that in a petro-intensive company such as Interface, anyone can do it. The next industrial revolution can be.
In that new era, the technophobes and technophiles, the interests of labor and capital, and the interests of nature and business will be reconciled. The Hegelian process of history--thesis, antithesis, synthesis--will lead to a sustainable society and world. The mindset behind the industrial system will have been transformed.
The tangible results of this seven-front assault at Interface are shown in Figures 4-11. It's a start, but the top of the mountain is a long way away. The top means zero extracted throughput per dollar of sales and no harm to the biosphere.
[FIGURES 4-11 OMITTED]
Meanwhile, the new thinking and mindset is beginning to permeate everything we do, especially product design and development. In our textile business, we've introduced fabrics produced from 100 percent recycled polyester and shifted entire product lines from virgin to recycled fiber. This has been accomplished, but not without painstaking and excruciating effort on the part of ourselves and our suppliers. Further, we've instigated the development of polyesters that use no antimony as a catalyst (leaving that poison in the lithosphere)--a significant technological breakthrough for our fiber producer/supplier. In our carpet tile business, a recent product introduction is produced by the fusion bonded method (our initial carpet tile technology) with 72 percent closed loop recycled content--fiber-to-fiber, backing-to-backing. We call it "Deja Vu," harkening back to our beginnings over 25 years ago.
The most exciting product, however, will be our most nearly sustainable product yet, designed according to every principle of sustainability we know: zero manufacturing waste, even installation waste to be recycled; every raw material component recyclable; the main production process solar powered. The product reflects maximum de-materialization, meaning more value, less stuff. It will be offered under the improved Evergreen Lease, now called Evergreen Service Contracts. We think it may be the first product ever consciously and deliberately designed for the next industrial revolution. We believe that the marketplace is ready for such a whole new category of flooring. It's not perfect and we will continue to improve it, but it's a big leap forward.
Interface, Inc. made its first published progress report to the public in November 1997, the Interface Sustainability Report. It describes the problems of industrialism as we see them, the solutions we are pursuing, and where we are in our climb. It also makes clear how much farther we have to go. To our knowledge, it is the first such report ever produced by a corporation. It has been widely distributed to the company's stakeholders and is available to anyone else who requests one (at: http://www.ifsia.com).
Other things need to change during the next industrial revolution. New technologies and manufacturing methods, tax shifts, and products of service are not enough. By every means possible, extractive throughput per unit of sales (gross domestic product on the national level, gross global product on the world-wide level) must be pushed toward zero. Sustainability depends ultimately on getting all the way there, to zero extractive throughput, given the perspective of geologic time and all the time yet to be. Again, we must remove the word "extracting" from the dictionary's definition of technology.
In October 1996, I was invited to Amsterdam to speak to the worldwide partners' meeting of one of the large international accounting firms. Since accountants tend to be highly analytical and unemotional, I thought that my standard speech, which has considerable emotional overtones, should be augmented if I wanted to connect with this group. So I added these comments just for the Amsterdam audience:
Now, what does this discussion have to do with you, your profession, and this meeting? I want to suggest that you and your profession are the scorekeepers in the game of business, but the rules of the game will change during the next industrial revolution; therefore, the method of scorekeeping will have to change, too, as business and commerce, and civilization, are re-invented. You could, with an early understanding of what might be, lead this change and help turn humankind from its course of self-destruction, unless, of course, you would rather just keep score as the world collapses around you. You could, for example, help to develop the field of EcoMetrics and help us understand God's currency, which certainly is not dollars or guilders, nor even pounds sterling. I know that already you are faced with assessing environmental liabilities, but let's go further. For example, let us consider how we value assets today. Take a forest, a stand of trees. What is its value? I think most would say: x boardfeet of lumber at $y per boardfoot equals $z, less the cost of harvesting; that is the value. But let me tell you a story about a small city on the banks of the Chattahoochee River in west-central Georgia in the United States, which in the first 100 years of its existence--through years of heavy rain and drought alike--never once experienced a flood. Then one year the banks of the river overflowed and $5 million of damage occurred. So the city fathers commissioned a dike to be built at a cost of $3 million, and that dike was sufficient to prevent flooding for five years. But then there was a season of especially hard rains, and the dike was breached, and the damage was $10 million this time. Therefore, the dike was rebuilt, higher this time, at a cost of $8 million, and the city was saved from flood for another seven years. And then the floods came higher still and the dike was breached again and someone finally said, "What is going on here?" So a team of experts was engaged to analyze the problem and one of the experts was an ecologist. And he, with brilliant insight, looked not at rainfall records, nor at dike construction, nor at laminar or turbulent flows of a river. He looked upstream and found that the forests for 50 miles upstream had been clear-cut over a period of 20 years and the clear-cutting had changed the hydrology of the area. Root systems no longer existed to hold the rainfall, so the rain ran off into the streams and rivers, eroding the land in the process and filling the river with silt and killing fish, too, depriving the poor people of the area of one source of sustenance, while flooding the plains downstream, including the unfortunate small city. So, the question arises, "What is the value of a forest?" The short-sightedness of conventional economics lies exposed. And I have not mentioned the value of a tree in removing carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, from the atmosphere, sequestering carbon, and producing oxygen for us to breathe, nor the songs of birds that are heard no more where the forests used to be. Neither have I mentioned the disease-spreading insects that now proliferate unchecked because the birds, their predators, are gone, resulting in an increase of encephalitis in the children in the region. So you see, there are serious questions to be raised about the traditional calculation of profit on the sale of the timber harvested from that clear-cut forest. The ultimate solution to the flooding, pursued by our federal government in its dubious wisdom, was to build a dam at a cost of $100 million, which took 28,000 acres of prime agricultural land out of use and destroyed the habitat of uncounted creatures. Today the lake, thus created, is a polluted cesspool, collecting Atlanta's sewage. The value of a forest? Think again. [Though based on actual facts, the story is largely apocryphal and exaggerated, but I tell it for effect. I do know this river, though. As a boy l caught 20-pound channel catfish there that our family would eat for a week. Channel catfish no longer exist in the river.] Or, staying with assets, what is the value of a mine --say a uranium mine--that at first blush would seem to be highly treasured? But on second thought, when we consider the cost of the nuclear clean-up that Earth faces, somewhere between $300 billion and $900 billion, depending on just how bad the Russian and Ukrainian situations turn out to be, uranium somehow seems not to be so valuable anymore. Think of the liability we have transferred to future generations! Enlightened accounting would figure out how to incorporate that liability into the evaluation of that mining asset today. Let's look at Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for another exercise in new vs. old economics. Consider, for example, that the Exxon Valdez disaster in Prince William Sound added to GDE Reflect also on the absurdity of the fact that the medical expenses for a child dying of environmentally-related cancer add to GDP. And that the costs to clean up and rebuild after a hurricane caused by global warming also add to GDP. Clearly, as a measure of standard of living, much less as a measure of progress or well-being, GDP is sorely lacking. I spoke earlier about the cost of a barrel of oil, compared with its price, and how the market is oblivious to the notion of external costs, both those passed on to our neighbors and those passed on to our grandchildren, what I've called intergenerational tyranny. We must think more about discount rates. Perhaps they should be negative, increasing the present value of future liabilities, rather than decreasing them. The earth cries out for a carbon tax to increase the price of fossil fuels to internalize the societal costs of military power in the Middle East and global warming, and thus hasten the development of alternative energy sources. Herman Daly, an economist at the University of Maryland, has been considered a heretic by mainstream economists for years. Daly criticizes conventional economics as "empty world" economics and the economics of "unlimited resources" in what's clearly an emerging era of a "full world" with physical constraints and finite resources. Daly thinks that economics must recognize reality and acknowledge that Earth's capacity to provide and endure is, in fact, limited and not infinite. People are now listening to him, even those who once derided him. I think you should rethink economics and accounting. I urge you to think about EcoMetrics, to join the search for God's currency. Talk with Herman Daly. Change is coming. Change creates opportunity. A growing number of companies are beginning to think differently about their scorekeeping. It's just a matter of time until all will have to. You could lead the way in this, and you should--for Earth's sake and for our grandchildren's sakes.
I could not tell from the immediate feedback whether I did, in fact, connect with that audience. There were a lot of stony faces; it would be unkind to describe them as blank. Afterward, there was just one request for a copy of my speech. I suppose time will tell; one never knows when a seed has taken root. The head of the firm did write me to say that my thoughts would not be ignored. I took great heart from that.
APPENDIX: PLETSUS: Practices LEading Toward SUStainability
* Provide honest information about the known environmental impacts of your company and product
* Invite customers to audit and critique your efforts
* Share your understanding of environmental issues and natural systems with customers
* Create atmosphere that encourages employees to question status quo and take risks
* Create environment that encourages life-long learning
* Engage the creativity of all employees and associates
* Educate all employees on the corporate sustainability vision
* Educate all employees on basic environmental principles and workings of natural systems
* Create mechanism for employees to share knowledge of best practices
* Bring in experts to address and challenge employees
* Create newsletters to report sustainability projects and challenges, including information that is not specific to the company
* Provide access to information that can help employees in their private lives, e.g., sponsor seminars on ways to save energy at home
* Have a "dumpster diving" activity to understand the makeup of your waste stream
* Use experiential learning techniques to explain complex concepts
* Hold a seminar to explain the do's and don'ts of your recycling program
* Ask employees to give input into improving environmental impacts of their jobs
* Ask employees if there are easy or low cost things that the company could do to make their jobs more pleasant and them more productive
* Involve employees in decision making when it affects them
* Always listen to what employees have to say about issues that affect them
* Respect the knowledge and intelligence of all employees
* Create work group teams to eliminate waste in their work areas
* Share your corporate vision and internal framework for sustainability with suppliers
* Involve suppliers in educational opportunities to learn more about sustainability
1.4.1 Environmental Organizations and Government Programs
* Partner with environmental organizations that work on issues important to your corporate philosophy
* Commit a percentage of profits to environmental research
* Participate in voluntary government programs with the EPA, such as Green Lights, Energy Star Buildings, and Climate Wise
* Contact other companies with a similar vision; share ideas
* Work with local universities to find latest environmental technologies and understanding
* Work with universities in joint research projects
* Talk with global experts
* Search for good practices and ideas outside your company
* Share your accomplishments with others and multiply good practices through them
* Invest time and resources in organizations committed to environmental progress or sustainable development
1.4.3 The Public
* Develop auditing mechanisms open to public disclosure
* Make public statements in support of sustainability principles and public disclosure such as the CERES (Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies) Principles
* Sponsor community forums about local environmental issues
* Choose community projects to support with time and money
* Open facilities to local school children to learn about sustainability and career opportunities
1.5.1 Corporate Strategy
* Establish top management commitment to long-term environmental strategy
* Establish corporate and divisional sustainability vision statements
* Ask for volunteers to serve as local environmental coordinators
* Establish local Green Teams to implement ideas
* Gain certification in third party assessed environmental management systems such as ISO 14001 or BS 7750
* Create a process of managing all aspects of environmental stewardship
* Develop well-defined corporate values, goals, decision making, and response mechanisms
* Evaluate product and service offerings for fit with a sustainable society
* Measure all material and energy flows in physical and monetary units
* Develop managerial "Full Cost Accounting" system
* Audit management systems and disposal practices
* Measure material and energy flows per unit of output to adjust for changes in production levels
* Create internal "green taxes" to highlight most profitable enterprise from total cost perspective
1.5.3 Incentive Plans
* Give rewards to individuals or teams with the best sustainability project
* Tie monetary compensation to achieving well-defined environmental goals
* Recognize outstanding commitment and progress toward sustainability
1.5.4 Keeping the Enthusiasm
* Set reasonable goals and always celebrate your accomplishments
* Learn through playing games
* Develop a sense of competition and pride
* Bring in college interns to research special projects for a fresh perspective
* Volunteer for a local hands-on project as a corporate team where the results of your labor are almost immediate, e.g., plant a garden of native plants
* Redesign products to use less raw materials while delivering the same or greater value
* Replace nonrenewable materials with more sustainable materials, such as:
* Organic materials, e.g., products of nature such as wood, cotton, hemp, flax, vegetable oils, etc.
* Organically grown and sustainable harvested materials, e.g., organic cotton and produce, certified wood products, etc.
* Locally produced and abundant materials
* Recycled and reclaimed post-consumer or post-industrial waste materials
* Materials consuming lower embodied energy
* Eliminate use of hazardous chemicals
* Design products to minimize consumption of energy and auxiliary materials in use
* Design products to last longer, make products more durable
* Design products to be repaired or selectively replaced when only a portion wears out
* Develop products out of easily separated components, or out of only one material, to facilitate recycling
* Consider the entire life cycle of product, including how it will be recovered and made into another useful product
* Design out all product packaging, e.g., "taco shell" (package is part of the product)
* Develop returnable packaging
* Deliver products in bulk
* Develop reusable packaging for work-in-process materials
* Use recycled materials
* Design packaging to be more easily recycled
* Design packaging to be safe and/or biodegradable if accidentally released into the environment
* Reclaim waste heat from processes, furnaces, air compressors, and boilers
* Systematically review all electric motor systems to minimize installed horsepower and maximize motor efficiency
* Design pumping systems with big pipes and small motors
* Design pumping systems by laying out pipes first (to minimize distance and elbows), then motors and other equipment
* Lay out plants to minimize distance materials travel
* Research product formulations to reduce process temperature requirements
* Minimize the number of times materials are heated and/or cooled
* Install multiple small motors to handle varying volumes rather than one big motor
* Design system for expected operating conditions rather than maximum expected capacity
* Stage plant flows and energy peaks to maximize efficiency
* Use computer modeling techniques to minimize energy usage
* Research Energy Miser technology on motors
* Install power submeters on all processes to continuously monitor efficiencies
* Install automatic switches to turn off equipment at a determined time of inactivity
* Research and adopt alternative energy sources consistent with local surroundings, such as hydroelectric, biofuel, solar, wind power, etc.
* Negotiate Green Energy contracts with utilities
* Research soft starting/control motor technologies
* Research energy storage technologies such as flywheels
* Adopt a zero waste mentality; design processes to create no waste or scrap
* Adopt a zero defect mentality; most material defects become waste
* Eliminate all smokestacks, effluent pipes, and hazardous waste
* Adopt high efficiency planning and scheduling practices to minimize waste
* Network with other companies to find waste streams that can become inputs for other processes
* Buy raw materials in bulk to minimize packaging
* Carefully segregate waste materials for reuse or recycling
* Develop processes to utilize internal scrap materials
* Develop quick stop technology to minimize waste created by off-quality processes
* Take corrective action on quality problems as far upstream as possible to minimize waste
* Closely measure all material streams to monitor material efficiency
* Commit to taking back your products at the end of their lives
* Rent only the service component of your products, e.g., warmth and light, rather than sell the product
* Be conscious about the extent and strategy of external communications to avoid greenwash
2.5.1 Work with Suppliers
* Share your corporate purchasing policy with all suppliers
* Press suppliers to follow and document sustainable practices, and favor those that do
* Press suppliers to take back packaging or not deliver it with the product
* Buy services, not products
* Encourage suppliers to report their environmental impacts in your terms
* Encourage suppliers to develop and offer products with a smaller environmental footprint
* Ask for information about the environmental policy of the corporation and information about the specific products you buy from suppliers
* Include the waste and embodied energy used to produce raw materials purchased from suppliers in your environmental foot-print analysis
2.5.2 Buy Sustainably
* Establish a "Buy Sustainably" policy stating the corporate goals on specific items when possible
* Circulate a list of recycled or environmentally friendly products to purchasing staff
* Set out clear guidelines to follow
* Support training for purchasing agents to understand the issues
* Create an internal purchasing agent team focused on identifying appropriate products
* Develop environmentally responsible methods of reconditioning used products
* Share surpluses with other offices by publishing a regular list
* Implement high efficiency planning and scheduling practices to minimize waste
* Increase insulation in walls and doors
* Use double paned or super windows
* Use high efficiency glazing or films on windows
* Use shades, deflectors, and light shelves to reduce summer sun
* Design HVAC and utility systems for maximum long-term flexibility and efficiency, e.g., under floor delivery, personal control
* Maximize use of natural ventilation heating and cooling
* Specify finishes and materials with low VOCs and that control the growth of microbial contamination
* Install fast acting doors in factory and warehouse exits to minimize time the door is open to outside
* Design minimum of impermeable surfaces to minimize storm water runoff
* Give priority to pedestrians, mass transit riders, and cyclists instead of automobile drivers
* Design with the natural flows of the site in mind
* Provide safe areas to secure bicycles
* Use minimal finishes, such as paints and coatings
* Use low embodied energy, locally abundant building materials
* Rehabilitate existing buildings rather than tear them down
* Use salvaged or refurbished materials
* Locate near existing infrastructure
* Separate and recycle construction waste
* Conduct an energy audit with the help of local utilities
* Replace old boilers with new high efficiency units
* Install properly sized variable speed motors/fans
* Install heat exchangers on building exhaust ducts
* Preheat boiler feedwater with waste heat
* Use excess plant heat to heat offices
* Install programmable thermostats
* Regularly maintain all HVAC systems
* Check fan speeds and efficiencies on HVAC systems
* Regularly replace filters and clean duct work
* Replace CFC in cooling systems with non ozone depleting refrigerants
* Install variable air diffusers
* Plant trees to shade eastern, western, and southern windows and air conditioners
* Redesign lighting to fit work processes, resulting in productivity improvements
* Install infrared motion detectors for automatic lighting control
* Replace incandescent lighting with compact fluorescent lighting
* Retrofit existing lighting with high efficiency fluorescent or metal halide bulbs, electronic ballasts, and reflectors
* Reduce use of high bay lighting
* Maximize use of natural daylight
* Reuse water whenever possible
* Reuse boiler water
* Treat and reuse dye water
* Develop closed loops whenever possible
* Conduct water use audits, looking for leaks and waste
* Install low flow fixtures in restrooms and kitchen areas
* Use recycled paper with a high percentage of post-consumer content
* Use chlorine-free paper, if available
* Use paper envelopes without windows and avoid Tyvek envelopes, so envelopes can be recycled
* Place collection containers at every work station to recycle used paper
* Reduce or eliminate paperwork and numbers of copies
* Scrutinize distribution lists
* Make copies only on request; otherwise, route material
* Maximize use of bulletin boards
* Set up copiers so that double sided copying is the norm
* Route magazines instead of getting separate copies
* Keep paper that is still good on one side (GOOS paper, Good On One Side) and make scratch pads out of it
* Communicate via e-mail when possible, and don't print your e-mail messages
* Eliminate cover sheets on faxes 184.108.40.206.2 Electronics
* Purchase only energy saving electronic equipment--look for the EPA's Energy Star label
* Turn off computer monitors when not in use
* Turn off your computer when you go to lunch and over night
* Use a projector instead of printing overheads for presentations
* Send used overheads back to 3M to be recycled
* Send exhausted ink jet cartridges back to their manufacturer for recycling
* Use refillable ink jet cartridges
* Lease the service of high end electronics instead of buying them (then they can be returned to the provider when you decide to upgrade instead of being disposed of)
* Buy copiers, printers, and fax machines that use refurbished parts and toner cartridges
* Invest in high quality maintenance to extend the life and maximize the efficiency of systems
* Use only nontoxic cleaning compounds
* Maximize use of all-purpose cleaners to reduce the number of chemicals used and to minimize potential danger of mixing
* Buy cleaners in concentrated form that can be mixed at different strengths for different purposes, reducing packaging and transportation
* Use washable mugs, glasses, plates, and utensils
* Use bulk product dispensers for beverages, condiments, etc.
* Provide convenient and easy to understand recycling centers for common waste products
* Measure all solid waste streams
* Leave as much habitat and vegetation as possible undisturbed by construction
* Landscape to promote biological diversity
* Design to minimize impact on local environment
* Compost organic matter
* Mulch lawn clippings
* Put up bird boxes and start an employee-run nest box monitoring program
* Plant a butterfly garden near an area that employees use often
* Join the Wildlife Habitat Council
* Start an employee vegetable garden
* Create a series of nature trails for employees and their families or even for the whole community
* Xeriscape by using plants adapted to local rainfall conditions
* Use gray water to water the landscaping
* Highlight native plants that are adapted to the local environment and do not require a lot of maintenance
* Employ Integrated Pest Management to minimize use of chemical pesticides
* Install storm water retention ponds to minimize volume and temperature spikes on local waterways from rain showers
* Create bird sanctuaries in migration paths
* Ship by rail whenever possible
* Reduce weight of products to consume less energy in transport
* Favor locally produced products
* Create transportation consortiums to maximize loading of trucks with other local businesses
* Pelletize waste materials such as fiber to minimize transportation energy
* Locate facilities to minimize shipping distances to major market centers
* Offset employee travel and product transportation with tree planting through organizations such as Trees for Travel
* Reduce number of trips by consolidating business or through better planning
* Buy alternative fuel vehicles
* Allow employees to telecommute or work alternative hours
* Offer rebates to employees who use alternative transportation and do not consume parking space
* Offer public transportation passes to employees
* Encourage video conferencing
Figure 11: Total Energy Consumption by Source in 2003 Natural Gas 36% Grid Electricity 26% Coal 16% Fuel Oil 8% Renewable 12% Other 2%
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Chairman and CEO, Interface, Inc.…