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Twitter Q&A: Sustainable business

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Edge caught up with the acting CEO and president of Interface Europe, Rob Boogaard to chat about running a sustainable business and environment needs to be put on the agenda

ILM: Would you like to start by introducing yourself and your business?

RB: Rob Boogaard (46), acting president/CEO as well as senior VP of sales and marketing for Interface EMEA. Married, 3 children (2 girls, 1 boy) 

RB: Interface is the world's largest producer of design carpet tiles

ILM: Your company has made a pledge to eliminate its impact on the environment by 2020 – how far are you from achieving this?

RB: We call it Mission Zero. By 2020 we'll eliminate any negative impact and aim to become restorative 

RB: In Europe, we reduced our carbon footprint by 90% since 1996, our benchmark year 

RB: Our main European production location runs on 100% renewable energy, a closed waterloop and no waste to landfill. We use 49% recycled content globally 

ILM: How are you getting your staff more involved in sustainability and being eco-friendly? 

RB: Everyone’s involved, from the factory to the boardroom – we have special sustainability ambassadors who drive the agenda. The first step was to start a war on waste energy, material and time. Everyone got involved and reaped the benefits

ILM: Do you think it's the small changes that make a difference and ultimately help the environment?

RB: I'd rather see small changes than no changes, however, radical changes are needed to make the real difference

ILM: How important is it for businesses to get environment on the agenda? 

RB: Critical, it is how business should be done not just for people and the environment, but also to boost your bottom line. I meet many leaders of sustainable companies who confirm that radical sustainability is not only possible, its pays.

ILM: I imagine it's about changing attitudes too - unfortunately many don't see the environmental as critically important 

RB: Nothing better than to work together on reversing the trend of plundering the earth's resources in unsustainable measure

ILM: Have you found that your initiatives have helped create a more successful business?

RB: Sustainability has been great boost for global visibility, employee engagement, innovation and future resilience. We have become a business willing to challenge status quo "for a better way": doing good has helped us doing well

ILM: What can managers do to shift their focus on becoming more sustainable? 

RB: Question the fundamentals of the business, set ambitious goals, empower your people, co-innovate. Look for answer in the whole supply chain. Too often we simply act on a business case that adds up. Let's not forget to apply conviction. "There has to be a better way”  


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