Carbon, Leadership & Courage with Erin Meezan on the Sustainable Jungle Podcast #sustainablejungle

Podcast #21 · Erin Meezan · Carbon, Leadership & Courage

“Businesses need to stop thinking about about solving the sustainability challenges of their business and really think about how we run our businesses in a way that solves the broader sustainability challenges… That requires a different level of leadership and a lot more courage.”

Erin Meezan

Erin Meezan is the VP and Chief Sustainability Officer at Interface Inc, a publicly listed company in the USA that manufactures carpet tiles and has earned a reputation as a leader in sustainability. Erin came from an environmental law background and has always been exceptionally passionate about making a difference. Today she “leads a global team that provides technical assistance and support to the company’s global business, addressing sustainability at all levels – from operations and management, to employees and customers, and in policy forums”. Erin is the definition of a changemaker and a leader.

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We were fortunate to chat to Erin in early 2018 and were so inspired by Erin’s path and the work that she and her team are doing at Interface. We covered the following:

  • Erin’s background, growing up with environmental awareness and consciousness in the 70s (~01:00)
  • Erin’s decision to study environmental law and a youth spent in nature (~03:35)
  • Erin’s career evolution from her early legal career representing environmental groups and driving policy change to where she is today at Interface (~05:15)
  • An overview of Interface, Ray Anderson’s revelation and his vision of sustainability 24 years ago! (~08:40)
  • Interface’s ‘Mission Zero’ goal broken down (including zero waste and 100% renewable energy) and where they’re at against target (~13:55)
  • How Interface thinks about the impact of their products and the importance of metrics (~16:20)
  • On the path to Carbon Neutrality and how Interface’s products will all be carbon neutral (~17:20)
  • The Interface Net-Works discarded fishing net project working with the Zoological Society of London (~19:05)
  • Thoughts on using waste and finding ways to engage in the circular economy (~21:25)
  • Interface’s ‘Climate Take Back’ mission, finding ways to reverse climate change (~22:45)
  • Carbon related innovations Erin is most excited about and how Interface is excited about materials that can store carbon (~25:10)
  • An overview of Biomimicry, why it’s super exciting and how Interface is using it (~28:50)
  • The “Factory as a Forest” concept, running factories that help achieve the mission of ‘Climate Take Back’ (~34:20)
  • Erin’s advice to big business to shift the conversation and drive change (~39:25)
  • Role of entrepreneurs in finding solutions in the carbon economy (~42:30)
  • The opportunity for individuals and customers to make change happen (~43:45)
  • Leadership, courage and how the private sector can encourage courage! (~48:45)
  • Erin’s final words of advice for those wanting to make change in their business (~52:25)

“We are proof that an interested customer can change your business.”

Erin Meezan
Carbon, Leadership & Courage with Erin Meezan on the Sustainable Jungle Podcast #sustainablejungle

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