Interface has become the first global flooring manufacturer to declare that all of its products — including all carpet tile and luxury vinyl tile (LVT) – are carbon neutral across the entire product lifecycle. The company is now offering its Carbon Neutral Floors™ program as standard to every customer, at no extra cost, to help them meet their own sustainability goals while also allowing them to reduce the emissions impact of their projects or spaces.
Through the program, Interface will also offer to provide information to each customer to help them understand the carbon impact of their purchase. For each flooring purchase, the company can calculate the estimated carbon reductions and present that documentation to the customer at the project or total global purchase level. For example, for every 1,000 sq. meters of Interface flooring sold, the company will offset carbon emissions equivalent to a car travelling 25,000 miles, or one trip around the Earth. Interface will also offer to provide tools to promote their leadership with key stakeholder groups, including their employees.
“Interface has spent the last 24 years focusing on eliminating our own environmental impact. As we embark on our new Climate Take Back™ mission, we now have a more ambitious goal to reverse global warming. We cannot do this alone, and our customers have come forward asking how they can participate,” said Interface Chief Sustainability Officer Erin Meezan.
Specifically, the new program will help customers reduce carbon emissions from building materials and products, known as ‘embodied carbon,’ which contribute significantly to greenhouse gas emissions in the built environment. The company further hopes that customers will not only see their products as opportunities to directly address global warming with a flooring specification decision, but also initiate a new conversation in the industry about its impacts.
“Architects and designers, flooring contractors and end users are beginning to see that their decisions — the products they specify and buy — have a direct impact on our climate. By specifying Interface products, they can do their part to address embodied carbon,” Meezan added. “And, we need to work together to elevate embodied carbon as an opportunity and to shine a light on those that are taking the lead. Now with every purchase, our customers are joining us in this important endeavor.”
Interface has been working to reduce its products’ environmental impacts since 1994, resulting in an estimated 60 percent reduction in their average carbon impact. Addressing the remaining carbon impacts has led to offsetting more than 4 million tons of carbon dioxide since introducing carbon neutral carpet tiles to the market in 2002 through its original Cool Carpet™ program in the Americas. Interface also added the world’s first carbon negative carpet tile to its repertoire last year.
The company has taken a holistic approach to carbon neutrality, looking beyond carbon emissions from manufacturing to considering and calculating emissions across the entire product lifecycle. This begins with raw materials and continues through manufacturing, transportation, maintenance and ultimately end-of-life product takeback and recycling through ReEntry®, and other disposal methods. To reach carbon neutrality for all products globally, Interface calculates all remaining greenhouse gas emissions for the entire lifecycle of its products and invests in verified emission reduction projects located all over the world to offset them. These projects have included reforestation, addressing deforestation and degradation, wind-based power generation, low-impact run of river electricity generation, and improved household charcoal stoves. The program is verified annually by independent third-party auditors.
Because Interface has already reduced the carbon footprint of its products to the lowest levels in the industry based on publicly available data, it is economically viable — not to mention environmentally responsible — to achieve carbon neutrality through the supply chain of the products and the purchase of carbon offsets.
Interface estimates it will offset 400,000 metric tons of carbon emissions in 2018 as part of the program, equivalent to the carbon absorbed annually by nearly half a million acres of forest.