When sustainable business pioneer Ray Anderson penned the preface to his game-changing book Mid-Course Correction, he talked about having three lives. His first, he said, spanned his first 38 years of life and led him to create the company that eventually became Interface, Inc. “The second life began with that act of creation,” he wrote, referring to the trials of building a billion-dollar company. The third life, launched two decades into the company’s history, is what Ray became most known for. In it, he transformed Interface into a cutting-edge sustainable business. He broke new ground in environmental stewardship and social responsibility. And in the process he became a passionate advocate for businesses everywhere to play fair with the environment and with people.
Sadly, Ray Anderson died on Monday, August 8. But he will have an enduring impact as one who took it upon himself to show other business leaders how you can do good and still do well.
Ray was a true friend, and an inspiration, to Chelsea Green, helping us to build our sustainable company and partnering with us to distribute Mid-Course Correction. Ray often said that one of his own true inspirations was Amory Lovins, author of our upcoming Reinventing Fire, which shows how U.S. businesses can lead the nation away from oil and coal by 2050. That admiration worked both ways. Lovins has dedicated the book to the memory of Ray.
If you have never heard Ray Anderson speak, take a moment now to hear this TED talk. He is one whose vision and leadership will indeed be missed.