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Insights 9 Jun 2017

We Are Not Alone in Believing Change is Possible

By Erin Meezan

Although dented, the Paris Agreement is not broken. Companies and many other institutions remain committed to climate action. Interface shares with SustainAbility thoughts on why it is standing by the Paris Agreement and how climate leadership is good for business.

Interface® has been pursuing Mission Zero®, a transforming initiative to become a fully restorative company, since 1994.

At Interface, we were very disappointed when the President announced that the United States would withdraw from the Paris Agreement. It was a move we actively discouraged by voicing our opposition to the White House in the weeks prior to the decision. Yet it appears that one of the worst examples of political leadership may, in the end, have the effect of accelerating positive and meaningful climate action. To our surprise, climate leadership across many sectors has emerged in response to the decision.

It appears that one of the worst examples of political leadership may, in the end, have the effect of accelerating positive and meaningful climate action.

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In the midst of the President’s decision, our mission and work at Interface becomes even more important. We will not alter the focus of our Climate Take Back mission.

Twenty three years ago, Interface took on the seemingly insurmountable goal to transform into a restorative business. We started pursuing sustainability and the goal of zero environmental footprint before many others – before it was common business practice or mainstream – and we led our company and our industry to a better place. We did this without strong governmental policies or support. 

We’re now convinced a fundamental change needs to happen in our response to climate change. We need to stop thinking about how to merely limit the damage caused by climate change and start thinking about how to create a climate fit for life.  We are committed to managing our business in a way that creates a climate fit for life and we’ve built out an early plan. We hope this can serve as a roadmap for others.

We need to stop thinking about how to merely limit the damage caused by climate change and start thinking about how to create a climate fit for life.

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Despite the President’s decision, we see many positive signs of climate action and leadership, and we’re not alone in believing change is possible.

The first step to reversing global warming is believing it is possible.  Our Climate Take Back mission is built on the belief that we can reverse global warming and it turns out we are not alone in this belief. Early this year we reached out to global climate experts to get their feedback on our new mission. 95% of the climate experts think taking back our climate is possible and they shared examples of where it is already starting to happen. If you’re interested in learning more, you can download the report here.

These experts are part of a group of global leaders who are leading a new conversation on climate action. And new coalitions are emerging to join this conversation.

People like Paul Hawken through Project Drawdown are leading a new conversation about how to reverse global warming through the lens of solutions and their impact.  The withdrawal from the Paris Agreement has galvanized a broad range of leaders who have joined together to express disagreement and pledge to continue climate action aligning under the name We Are Still In.

The most interesting example in response to the President’s decision is an emerging coalition of Governors, Mayors, businesses and Universities, coordinated by former NYC Mayor Bloomberg, who are negotiating with the United Nations to submit a plan to be accepted on par with other nations in the Paris Agreement. These examples of climate leadership and others emerging from all sectors are making us at Interface optimistic about the future and we’re excited to see what’s next.

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