Yorkshire manufacturing hero Ray Anderson dies at age 77

Posted on 11 Aug 2011 by The Manufacturer

Founder of Interface Ray Anderson, the biggest manufacturer of modular carpet in the world, has died aged 77 in Atlanta, Georgia. The entrepreneur was a local hero in Shelf, West Yorkshire.

Mr Anderson, who helped to create 380 jobs at Interface’s base in Shelf, West Yorkshire, received many accolades for his work promoting corporate social responsibility, including the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award.

Shelf-based InterfaceFLOR is a key part of the company’s global empire. InterfaceFlOR, whose customers include Yorkshire Water, Yorkshire Bank, Santander, HBOS and the University of Bradford, aims to become ‘greener’ by cutting its carbon footprint, and re-designing products to ensure that less material goes to landfill sites.

Steve Martin, the company’s manufacturing and operations director for the UK, said: “He often used to visit Shelf – he had a genuine interest in people and could communicate with people at all levels, including shop-floor workers.”

He added: “His legacy in Shelf is that sustainability is really embedded in the business. We are determined to hit the environmental targets that he set us, even though he won’t be around to see them achieved.

Earlier this year, InterfaceFLOR unveiled a range of new products produced with 100% recycled yarn. The carpet tile collection is called Biosfera I and is made from raw material like reclaimed fishing nets and InterfaceFLOR’s own carpet tiles, using minimal amounts of yarn.

Currently, 40% of InterfaceFLOR’s total raw materials are either recycled or bio-based, up from 0.5% in 1996.

George Archer