Twenty years ago, Interface’s founder, the late Ray Anderson, committed his carpet tile company to strive for sustainability. We ask Rob Boogaard, its current EMEA chief executive, about the role innovation plays in realising Anderson’s vision

Ethical Corporation: Business leaders frequently talk about the value of innovation. Is it a term you use a lot at Interface?

Rob Boogaard: Yes, very much so. As a carpet tile manufacturer, we are first and foremost a design company. Our core business is about creating inspiring environments. We work with architects and designers across the world on prestigious office, hotel and educational facilities. The one thing that points all our noses in the same direction is our “Mission Zero” programme. This puts into practice our vision not to harm the environment any more in 2020 and even to become restorative. Innovation is the third strategic pillar of our company. It’s the thing that helps us achieve our design and sustainability goals; it kind of ties everything together.

Ethical Corporation: How is the company’s commitment to innovation organised internally?

Rob Boogaard: We have a dedicated innovation team, whose focus is to cultivate and exploit our internal innovation capability. They create a larger team within our R&D divisions globally. Altogether they number around 80 people. The innovation team also makes linkages to the outside world where a lot of the answers we need can be found.

Ethical Corporation: How do you instil an innovation...

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The Responsible Business Summit 2014

May 2014, London, UK

Make sustainable innovation add to your bottom line. 15+ CEOs and C-Suite from leading multinationals plus heads of CSR will discuss the future of sustainability

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