In response to the needs of the commercial office sector, Anderson led a joint venture between British company, Carpets International Plc. (CI), and a group of American investors to produce and market modular soft-surfaced floorcoverings.

And with this Interface was born.

On its first day in business, the new company had only 15 employees, and was immediately faced with the challenge of the sharply rising cost of petrochemical, which was a key raw material in the carpet industry at the time.
 
Meeting demand and continuing to grow
CI’s advanced cutting and bonding technology helped sustain the company and enabled it to meet the demand created by the office building boom of the mid-1970s. Modular carpet tiles continued to grow in popularity and by 1978 Interface sales had reached $11 million. The company went public in 1983.

Through acquisition, Interface entered the European and Middle Eastern markets, and the core business extended to include woven broadloom carpet products, specialty carpet-related chemical operations and other associated office furnishings industries.

In 1987, the company’s name was changed to Interface, Inc. With its acquisition of Heuga Holdings B.V. – one of the world’s oldest manufacturers of carpet tiles – Interface became the undisputed world leader in modular flooring.

A short time later, Interface invested in Prince Street Technologies, Ltd., a producer of upper-end broadloom carpet now known as Bentley Prince Street, Inc. It entered the residential market in 2003 with the introduction of FLOR.

Over the years, the company’s growth has been augmented by more than 50 acquisitions.
 
A change of direction
In the mid-1990s, Anderson took the decision to completely shift the company’s strategy, aiming to redirect its industrial practices to include a focus on sustainability without sacrificing its business goals.

He wrote his first book, entitled Mid-Course Correction, in which he discussed his own awakening to environmental concerns and presented a model for how Interface would become truly sustainable by 2010. He called this Mission Zero.

Anderson then wrote his second book, Confessions of a Radical Industrialist, in 2009, in which he continued to build on his vision of how businesses can alter their past ways to operate in a more sustainable way in the future.