George Bandy is the Vice President and Manager of Sustainability at Interface, Inc., a leading manufacturer of carpet tiles. In 1994, Interface’s founder, Ray Anderson read the book The Ecology of Commerce by Paul Hawken and realized that he had a responsibility to the future generation to reduce his company’s environmental impact. Carpet tiles were especially toxic, as they are made from petroleum and produce a lot of waste. That was the beginning of Interface’s aggressive Mission Zero initiative, which aims to not only reduce but completely eliminate Interface’s use of fossil fuels.
The company has a comprehensive recycling program, which offers free pick up for carpet tile customers at the end of the floor’s life span, and the tiles are recycled into raw material for new product. The factories have also been made into highly efficient machines that have eliminated over 90% of manufacturing waste. George Bandy’s job as the Manager of Sustainability meant he was also holding employees accountable for waste and resource management, educating consumers and industry professionals on sustainability initiatives and creating new ways to eliminate Interface’s dependence on fossil fuels. The company also promotes and assists buildings obtain LEED certification, and provides carbon offsets for all carpet tile purchased in North America, meaning all purchases from Interface are considered carbon neutral. The company is now in development of carpet tiles made from castor bean fibers, which is significantly more sustainable than petroleum. Interface also produced a line of tiles made from fishing nets that were recovered from beaches in South East Asia.
Before coming to Interface, George Bandy was the Sustainable Development Officer at the University of Texas. Today, he is a board member for the United States Green Building Council and the nonprofit organization Second Nature. Second Nature is an educational organization focused on creating a sustainable society. Bandy also travels the country speaking to businesses about what they can do improve their bottom line with sustainability measures. His commitment to sustainability extends far past his job, and has cited his grandmother as inspiration for his environmental leadership.