Worldwatch Mourns the Passing of Ray Anderson: Board Member, Champion of Sustainability, and Dear Friend

Washington, D.C.–The Worldwatch Institute is mourning the loss of Institute Board member and visionary business leader Ray Anderson, who died this week after a 20-month battle with cancer.

“It is with great sadness that we learned of Ray’s death,” said Worldwatch President Robert Engelman. “Worldwatch has lost a great friend, supporter, and champion of sustainability.”

Anderson was founder and chairman of Interface, Inc., the world’s largest manufacturer of modular carpet and a leading producer of commercial broadloom and fabrics. Anderson’s reading in 1994 of Paul Hawken’s Ecology of Commerce led him to a lifetime commitment to sustainability and to the transformation of the company’s operations.

After reading the book, Anderson began efforts that reduced waste at the billion-dollar company by one-third and began working to eliminate the use of petroleum from Interface’s manufacturing processes. A well-known champion of sustainable business practices, Anderson pioneered industrial recycling efforts and spoke out extensively on how to reduce the environmental impact of industrial businesses.

Anderson was elected to the Worldwatch Board of Directors in April 2008. In January of that year, he gave the keynote address at the Institute’s annual State of the World briefing, in which he described his journey toward a more sustainable business model. Anderson was co-author of a chapter in the Worldwatch report State of the World 2010: Transforming Cultures on changing business cultures from within, as well as author of the popular book Mid-Course Correction about Interface’s efforts to embrace sustainability.

 Ray Anderson on Sustainability (extract from The Corporation, 2004):


State of the World 2008 Keynote Speech:

Ray Anderson, Chairman, Interface, Inc., passionately recounts his journey from carpet entrepreneur to sustainability pioneer, sharing his inspiration for change and the methods he used to greatly reduce the environmental impact of his business.
Listen Now (mp3) New Thinking, Sustainability in Action