Ray Anderson is one of the most prominent business leaders in the country and his story is incredible. Growing up, he learned to grit it out on the football field and in the classroom. Several years later, he applied those lessons to start Interface, the world’s largest manufacturer of modular carpets. Now, in his new book, Confessions of a Radical Industrialist, which was released late last week, Anderson challenges the business community to share a goal he set for his company: to take nothing from the earth that cannot be replaced by the earth.
If you’ve read Anderson’s previous book, Mid-course Correction, you know his story. Anderson was tasked with giving a speech about sustainability and really didn’t have much to say. At the same time, someone had placed a copy of Paul Hawken’s widely influential The Ecology of Commerce on his desk. In reading this book, Anderson was hit with the magnitude of the challenge facing business. He was also excited by the opportunity.
Since this ecological epiphany, Interface has cut greenhouse gas emissions by 82%, fossil fuel consumption by 60%, and increased sales by 66%. Interface has doubled earnings and raised profit margins. It’s not the kind of success story you would expect to hear, especially if you buy into partisan political issues. What, a business makes money through environmental innovation?
Yes, Interface is successful because it’s moved beyond compliance and into a realm of innovation — something that’s provided a sustainable competitive advantage. This is the opportunity we all face. But every company is different and the path to Mount Sustainability may differ from industry to industry. For this reason, grab a copy of Confessions of a Radical Industrialist, and figure out how this book speaks to you. Here’s what you can expect:
- Ch. 1: Mission Zero I
- Ch. 2: The Power of One Good Question
- Ch. 3: One Small Digression and Six Lessons
- Ch. 4: Mountain Climbing
- Ch. 5: Zero Waste: The First Face of Mount Sustainability
- Ch. 6: Smokestacks and Other Relics
- Ch. 7: Plugging into the Sun
- Ch. 8: Round and Round They Go
- Ch. 9: Getting out of the Breakdown Lane
- Ch. 10: The Circle of Influence, or Love on the Factory Floor
- Ch. 11: The Final Ascent
- Ch. 12: On Leadership, Programs, and Policies
- Ch. 13: Science and Skeptics
- Ch. 14: Awakening the Mind and the Spirit
- Ch. 15: The Next Ascent
- Ch. 16: Every Reason for Hope
Confessions of a Radical Industrialist is published by St. Martin’s Press in an initial printing of 100,000 copies. It’s going to be huge and we’re giving away two copies. Don’t get left standing at the water cooler not knowing what this book is all about.
Ed. note: the giveaway has successfully concluded.