Having recently started the most corporate job I have ever had (and never thought I would have), I am reminded of the enormous impact a corporation CAN have in its own community and, ultimately, on a global scale.
Ray Anderson, founder and CEO of the world’s largest carpet manufacturer, Interface, and inspiring interviewee in the documentary The Corporation, acts as a perfect example. Anderson changed his apathetic ways and started to consider the negative impact his company was having on the environment after reading The Ecology of Commerce, by Paul Hawken, which was given to him by a friend.
From the Interface web site:
Ray heightened the company’s awareness and led changes in technology in an effort to move toward being environmentally sustainable. Admittedly, Interface is not there yet; however, the company is investing in developing processes and technologies to get it there. What this means, primarily, is learning to harness solar energy and provide raw material needs by harvesting and recycling carpet and other petrochemical products, while eliminating waste and harmful emissions from its operations. Ray believes that if Interface, a petro-intensive company, can get it right, it will never have to take another drop of oil from the earth. The philosophy guiding Ray’s passion for this cause is simply that it is not only the right thing to do, but the smart thing, too.”
If the decision makers of corporations are driven by the bottom line, as they almost always are, that’s cool, too. Decisions based in sustainibility often improve the bottom line. These ecological results positively affect millions of people, as companies who fail to move into this direction face eventual extinction. Adapt, or slowly die, which is fine by me.