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Last night GreenHeroes producers Joan Prowse and John Bessai attended the Excellence in Corporate Social Responsibility Awards ceremony.

Hosted by Greenliving Enterprises, a company that markets green programs, products and services and is a partner of GreenHeroes, the Awards honours leaders in corporate social responsibility — an initiative businesses often take to use their influence and power for social and often environmental good.

This year the Outstanding Achievement Award was added to the awards roster and given posthumously to Ray Anderson, former founder and chairman of carpet manufacturer Interface Inc. and pioneer in corporate sustainability.

We featured Ray in a GreenHeroes video last year. Watch it to learn more about his work.

Ray’s daughter was present at the event. She accepted the award on his behalf and read a touching poem called “Tomorrow’s Child.”

John and Joan were fortunate to be seated at the same table as two of the events’ award winners: Jennifer Williams, CEO of La Siembra Co-Operative, a company that offers free-trade and organic products who won a Small Business Award and the volunteer environmental team from Steam Whistle Brewing who won a Medium Business Award for Steamwhistle’s green manufacturing process.

Another of one of our GreenHeroes was honoured last night. Tom Heintzman, Co-Founder and President of Bullfrog Power, a Canadian provider of 100% green energy, won a Medium Business Award for his leadership in greening the energy marketplace in Canada.

Watch our video to learn more about Tom’s work.

For a full listing of last night’s winners and information on their work, check out the GreenLiving website.
Congratulations to all the winners and thanks to GreenLiving for a great night!

It is with great sadness that we announce the loss of one of our GreenHeroes. Ray Anderson was the founder and chairman of carpet manufacturer Interface Inc. Ray passed away on August 8 after an epic struggle with cancer.

Ray  was a hero, as he encompassed the true spirit of entrepreneurship and left behind an innovative green business model. He used the metaphor of climbing a mountain to identify and explain what he called the Seven Fronts of Mount Sustainability, efforts companies must make to become sustainable:

  • Front 1 – Eliminate Waste
  • Front 2 – Eliminate Harmful Emissions
  • Front 3 – Increase Energy Efficiency and use Renewable Energy      Resources
  • Front 4 – Reduce Finite Raw Material Inputs and use recycled materials
  • Front 5 – Reduce Transportation’s Carbon Footprint
  • Front 6 – Sensitize Stakeholders
  • Front 7 – Redesign Commerce

Ray  saw that a profit could still be made by placing a heavy emphasis on recycling, ensuring that the company was working towards reducing their ecological footprint while also boosting their reputation and sales. Ray was a conundrum: he was both a successful capitalist as well as an active GreenHero — a Green Capitalist! He sought to drastically shift his company’s practice of operating primarily to the goal of achieving profit to becoming completely sustainable.

GreenHeroes has released several posts related to his great work and will be featuring them in the blog over the next two weeks.

The Corporation is a 2003 Canadian documentary film written by Joel Bakan, and directed by Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott. The documentary is critical of the modern-day corporation considering its legal status as a class of person and evaluating its behaviour towards society and the world at large as a psychiatrist might evaluate an ordinary person.

The Corporation has been shown worldwide. Please see http://www.thecorporation.com/.  Mark Achbar shared some thoughts with GreenHeroes about Ray Anderson who appears in this award winning documentary.


By Mark Achbar

Ray Anderson first came to my attention in the mid-90s, in an article in the Globe And Mail. What struck me about him was his willingness to be bluntly self-critical about his own business’ environmental practice.

The outlook normally delivered by CEOs of billion dollar corporations in thepress is all sunny for the next quarter, constant improvement, growth, up, up, up, and do no wrong. It was rare — perhaps unique — to see a full-on “mea culpa” in the business pages of a national newspaper.

Call it counter-branding if you will; I took him at his word and was rewarded with one of the most memorable interviews of the 70 I conducted for the film.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pin8fbdGV9Y[/youtube]

World premiere of The Corporation, at midnight, at a gathering on Squamish Nation land, outside of Vancouver

Ray became a strong supporter of The Corporation, and one day hosted a big screening of the film in Boston for all kinds of progressive business and design people. Before the film snacks and drinks were served.

I was wearing my “The Corporation” T-shirt, with the devil-man-halo logo on it, and all the serving staff were wearing black t-shirts with this sentence printed on them:

“Some day people like me will be put in jail”
– Ray Anderson, CEO, Interface

I quickly took the shirt off my back and made a trade with one of the medium-sized waiters.
– Mark Achbar, Director of The Corporation

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Remember – in the battle to save the planet, scale the sustainability mountain. Share your story of how you’re scaling the sustainability mountain by entering our contest, and you’ll be eligible to win a prize, including being featured on TV as our next GreenHero!

Sometimes change comes in stages, as is often the case for businesses deciding to “go green”. Interface Global, an international carpet manufacturer, wasn’t always clean and green. But under the leadership of GreenHero Ray Anderson, the business is well on its way to reaching its peak of sustainability.

Ray Anderson is an enlightened business leader who listened to the call of his customers over a decade ago.

When buyers asked what Interface Global was doing to help the environment, Ray had an epiphany; the task at hand required new leadership and bold decisions to reshape production.

Springing into action, his company broke the seemingly mountainous task of “greening” into 7 stages, attempting to mimic nature by recycling everything and eliminating waste.

What resulted was a world-leading company in corporate social responsibility with low waste and emissions, and a world-class business model for other industries to follow.Take action now to help your company scale the sustainability mountain!

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, scale the sustainability mountain. Share your story of how you’re scaling the sustainability mountain by entering our contest, and you’ll be eligible to win a prize, including being featured on TV as our next GreenHero!

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