Carpet company scoops top green award

23rd November 2012


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Carpet manufacturer Interface wins top prize at the International Green Awards after putting sustainability at the heart of its business

The firm, which is the world’s largest maker of carpet tiles, beat off competition from electronics manufacturer Hitachi and global communications giant Pearson, to be named as the most responsible large business at this year’s International Green Awards, and awarded the overall grand prix prize.

Interface, a joint UK-US venture formed in 1973, was praised for a long-standing commitment to combating its environmental impacts and the extent to which the company had embedded sustainability in its operations.

In 1994, Interface pledged to eliminate all of its negative impacts on the environment by 2020. By 2011, it had cut waste to landfill per unit of production by 88% on 1996 levels, reduced water use in manufacturing by 84% and cut total energy consumption by 47%. More than 30% of energy used across its global sites is now from renewable sources and 44% of the raw materials it sources are now recycled or bio-based materials.

Lindsey Parnell, president of Interface’s European operations, said winning the award was testament to the hard work of its employees. “Our achievements prove that with dedication, perseverance and innovation at front of mind, a true difference can be made,” he said.

Parnell also revealed some of the financial benefits of putting sustainability at the heart of the company’s business model. “It has inspired some of our most innovative and best-selling products, motivated our workforce, enhanced our reputation and led to global savings of more than $438 million in avoided waste costs since 1995.”

Other winners at this year’s awards include New Zealand wine producer Yealands Estate Wines, Rwandan social enterprise AJDR and a Australian high school. The government of the Republic of Korea was named the world’s most sustainable government and YouGen, a UK-based website offering businesses and homeowners advice on installing renewables, won the WWF green game changer initiative award.

Meanwhile in the UK, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) was named as the most sustainable government department by the Cabinet Office. In its annual analysis of how central government departments and bodies are performing against their environmental targets, the Cabinet Office concluded the ONS’s efforts to reduce water use, energy consumption and waste made it a “leading example of sustainability”.

Successful initiatives implemented by ONS offices include: rainwater harvesting, which saves 5,000 cubic meters of water each year at its Newport site; voltage optimisation systems, which have cut annual CO2 emissions by 450 tonnes; and removing personal bins, which as seen the amount of waste generated in offices cut by 43%.

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