Interface’s Net-Works Program: A New Approach to Creating Social Value through Sustainable Sourcing

by: Andrew Hoffman

Publication Date: February 19, 2014
Length: 20 pages
Product ID#: 1-429-374

Core Disciplines: Economics, Entrepreneurship & Innovation, International Business, Social Impact, Strategy & Management, Sustainability

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Teaching Note

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Interface ranks among the top three manufacturers in the carpet industry, measured by revenues per year. Through its sustainability program, the company has achieved astounding results. Still, while Interface has made tremendous strides, company leaders are not content to rest. Interface developed its Mission Zero with the objective of eliminating all negative environmental impacts. During their reading and discussion of the case, students are asked to find solutions that will allow the company to scale its sustainable sourcing program and use its purchasing power to drive the social impact investments of others.

Teaching Objectives

After reading and discussing the material, students should:

  • Identify and discuss the challenges to developing and scaling a sustainable sourcing program, including financial commitment, social impact, and partnerships.
  • Debate the boundaries of a company pursuing social impact through its business.
  • Discuss the differences between running social impact programs and using purchasing power to drive social impact investments of others.