9 Lessons for Net-0

  1. Create ambitious goals: Think big. Even if the goal is not achieved in its entirety, far more will be achieved than through meeting or surpassing a smaller, incremental goal. In the case of Interface, the company aimed to reduce its environmental impact by shifting from raw materials to recycled or biobased materials.
  2. Recognise different approaches and the benefits of change: Create a culture that fosters and embraces innovative thinking from all employees. Interface facilitated workshops for employees to demonstrate the need to reduce the environmental impact of the business and encouraged employees to innovate and reimagine the production of carpet tiles in line with the Mission Zero strategy.
  3. Create a credible action plan with clear goals and metrics: Consider the latest data when planning any initiative. Interface based its Mission Zero strategy on science-based evidence, ensuring that its approach was aligned with climate science and would generate sustainable transformation.
  4. Take a circular approach: Engage the whole value chain to create a circular system. For Interface, this meant reducing raw material consumption and focusing on reusing and recycling materials. The organisation also collaborated closely with suppliers to share its vision and rationale, and it incentivised change by prioritising suppliers who were taking action to reduce emissions and provide recycled materials.
  5. Involve all employees: Build awareness of the company’s mission and vision for decarbonisation and create ways for employees to engage with and feel a sense of ownership over the mission. Interface set up an initiative to encourage shared learning and best practices between employees in order to reduce waste in the factories.
  6. Learn from mistakes: Apply the lessons learnt from mistakes when designing the next solution. For example, some early innovation in recycling materials resulted in an expensive process that increased Interface’s carbon footprint. The company could learn from this to create new, more effective recycling technology.
  7. Be transparent: Share company metrics and trial new approaches to disclosure and transparency. Consider how these measures could benefit not only your organisation, but the wider sector too. Encourage transparency within the organisation and with external stakeholders, such as customers, providing them with the information they need to make more informed choices.
  8. Scale change through influence: Lead the way for other organisations. As Mission Zero progressed and Interface began to achieve its decarbonisation goals, the organisation shared its progress with other business leaders and industry peers to encourage a broader decarbonisation agenda. By exhibiting the commercial success of decarbonisation to others, Interface expanded the market for net zero solutions.
  9. Identify the next level of ambition: Recognise when new challenges and targets need to be set to accelerate the transformation. Communicate with organisational leaders, employees and external advisers to understand where further change should be directed.

Interface. 2019. Lessons for the Future. Available: https://www.interface.com/CA/en-CA/sustainability/our-journey-en_CA [2020, October 6].

Khoo, J. 2019. NextWave commits to divert 25,000 tonnes of plastics from the ocean by 2025. Available: https://blog.interface.com/en-au/nextwave-divert-25000-tonnes-plastics-ocean-2025/ [2020, October 6].

NextWave. n.d. About us. Available: https://www.nextwaveplastics.org/about-us [2020, November 30].