May 29, 2024

Interface to ‘repurpose’ former carbon offset investments from 2025

Flooring firm Interface has announced plans to “double down” on its carbon reduction and storage strategy, having pledged to transition away from the use of carbon offsets as it looks to deliver on its net zero goals.

Interface, which is widely regarded as a trailblazer for sustainable and circular business models, this week revealed it plans to repurpose former offset investments from 2025 onwards to accelerate innovation projects that can result in direct carbon reductions and carbon storage both internally and throughout its supply chain.

The firm hopes the move will boost its progress towards an overarching target of becoming carbon negative, without the use of offsets, by 2040, as well as its interim targets to halve absolute Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2030.

The announcement comes after Atlanta-based Interface featured in Time100’s Most Influential Companies list for 2023, with the US magazine highlighting the company’s high profile project to rollout of carbon negative flooring fashioned from carbon-rich biomaterials and recycled components.

“We’re ‘all in’ on solving the climate crisis,” said Laurel Hurd, CEO of Interface. “We’ve made incredible progress in our 30-year sustainability journey, and we’re committed to achieving our ambitious environmental sustainability goals without carbon offsets.

“Carbon negative carpet tile changed everything for Interface. We now know it’s possible to store more carbon than we emit – and we believe we can accomplish this across our product portfolio, from carpet tile to resilient flooring.”

She added that the company hoped the move would “challenge ourselves and others to become carbon negative, enterprise wide, without offsets”.

“We hope to continue to inspire the industry to join us to make an even bigger impact through our collective action focused on absolute carbon reduction,” she said.

The global carpet tile producer has also committed to reducing the carbon footprint of resilient products via manufacturing and raw material innovations, increasing recycled content, and identifying and driving commercial adoption of circular models across all product categories.

“Our carbon plan is simple: Avoid. Reduce. Store. Inspire,” said Liz Minné, Interface’s head of global sustainability strategy. “We’re doubling down to store more carbon than we emit across our entire enterprise.

“We’re avoiding and reducing emissions throughout our product manufacturing, our business operations, and our supply chain, and working to store more carbon in our products. We’ve been charting this course for 30 years, and we won’t stop until we achieve carbon negativity, without offsets, by 2040. And we hope we inspire others to do the same.”

Interface also announced that as of April 30 it will discontinue its Carbon Neutral Floors and Carbon Neutral Enterprise programs in order to increase project budget, as the company continues to identify alternative opportunities for decarbonisation. However, it confirmed it would continue to offer verified carbon credits for all customer purchases through the end of 2024.

The move comes in the midst of a major debate over the role of carbon offsets in counting towards corporate net zero goals, after the board of the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) controversially announced it was planning to consult on changes to its Net Zero Standard that would allow for the wider use of carbon credits to meet supply chain decarbonisation goals. 

Advocates of the reforms, including leading business groups, argue they could help drive much needed investment into carbon removal projects that are likely to prove essential to meeting economy-wide net zero goals and help companies tackle emissions from their sprawling value chains.

But environmental campaign groups and some businesses have argued the moves could undermine the credibility of corporate targets approved by the SBTi and have called for more firms to emulate Interface and focus on tackling emissions at source.

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