This case looks at the challenges of Interface – a global carpet tile company – in pursuing its new climate change strategy. Since 1994, Interface had become a leader in sustainability and had initiated and implemented wide-ranging innovations in its products, activities and programs to reduce the company’s environmental impact to zero (Mission Zero), while inspiring other companies to do the same. In 2016, Interface declared it was right on track to reach Mission Zero and started to define and develop its new mission and strategy, Climate Take Back for after 2020, which aimed to become restorative for the world’s climatic systems. Geanne van Arkel, head of sustainability in the EMEA regional headquarters in Scherpenzeel, The Netherlands, contributed to Mission Zero and was now challenged to strategize for Climate Take Back in the EMEA region with her global colleagues. The new climate change strategy required innovative leadership, management and operations while exploring an unprecedented business challenge. This case thus explores and analyzes the transition from an old climate change strategy to an even further reaching strategy. The findings of the Special Report “Global Warming of 1.5°C”, released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in October 2018, reminded Interface of the pivotal importance of the strategy and urged the company to speed up the implementation of the Climate Take Back strategy in order to be able to help reverse global warming.

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Keywords sustainability, strategy, climate, carbon sequestration, frontrunner, systemic action, stakeholders, decarbonisation, business case, mission, innovation.
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Series RSM Case Development Centre

Based on field research; 21 pages.
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Van Koert, M, Sherwood, D, & Kennedy, S.P. (2019). Interface: Creating a Climate Fit for Life with Carpet Tiles. RSM Case Development Centre. Retrieved from