American business guru Ray Anderson is set to be one of the highlights of the forthcoming BASE event at the Brewery in central London on 16 February, organised by Place West London’s sister company.
Anderson, who featured prominently in Leonardo DiCaprio’s award winning documentary 11th hour, is famous for having over the last two decades transformed his carpet tile company Interface (in his own words once virtually an extension of the petro-chemical industry), into a business that is more profitable and more sustainable.
From 1996 to 2008, Interface reduced total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 71%, increased sales by two-thirds and doubled earnings. Profit margins expanded, while GHG intensity, relative to sales, declined by 82%.
At BASE, Anderson will draw upon his hard-won experience to set out the defining business case for sustainability. He will tell you that the overall efficiency, if measured honestly, of industry is pathetic. In the US, he says, “97% of energy and product that goes into manufacturing products is wasted. Our industrial system is first and foremost and waste-making machine”.
And, he urges, ask yourself this question: ‘if you had a division in your company that wasted nearly everything it got its hands on how long would you allow it to continue?’ Yet, he points out, this is happening throughout industry, and is seen not only as normal, but successful.
What of the solution? According to Anderson it is simply a contemporary application of something we used to be pretty good at – good old capitalist, enlightened self-interest, the irresistible magnetic force that in a free society draws innovation and capital straight to opportunity… And that is something you will be hearing plenty about at BASE on 16 February. To find out more and to book your place go to www.baseshow.co.uk