The Business Logic of Sustainability

Fierce Resource Forbes

This week’s Fierce resource was originally published on and explains the business logic behind sustainability.

In 1973, Ray Anderson read “The Ecology of Commerce” and it changed the trajectory of his business. As the CEO of a carpet manufacturer with petroleum intensive processes, he was in a unique position to make a difference and challenge the status quo of the “take/make/waste” industrial system. He decided to embrace technology to improve sustainability efforts and found that there was also a compelling business case behind this approach.

Anderson died in 2011, but his legacy and sustainable impact lives on through the Ray C. Anderson Foundation. Through Anderson’s efforts, his carpet company has doubled profits while decreasing its greenhouse gas emissions by over 82%. Anderson’s achievements indicate a few things:

    1. If a petroleum intensive company can make dramatic environmental strides, while simultaneously increasing profits – any business can do the same.


    1. That benevolence and the drive for zero emissions can be a more powerful sales tool than traditional marketing efforts.

So on Earth Day this year, consider how your organization could improve its carbon footprint – you may just find a compelling business case for it too.

“There must be a clear, demonstrable alternative to the take-make-waste industrial system that so dominates our civilization, and is the major culprit in stealing our children's future.”

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