Remembering Ray Anderson

Ray Anderson, the advocate of sustainability in business, died on Monday at age 77. Share his powerful TEDTalk — in which he explores the personal, ethical and practical motives for building a responsible business:

[ted id=547]

  • The company he founded, the carpet manufacturer Interface, “set what may well be the highest sustainability benchmark of any industrial company,” writes Joel Makower in a tribute on Anderson led the company to think about every step along the manufacturing chain, down to their standing offer to recycle used carpet at the end of its life.

    In the past ten years, Anderson delivered more than 1,000 speeches on the business case for sustainability. His talk at TED2009 has been seen hundreds of thousands of times and translated into 17 languages. He often ended his talks (as he did his TEDTalk) with this poem: “Tomorrow’s Child,” written by one of his employees, Glenn Thomas.

    Tomorrow’s Child
    By Glenn Thomas

    Without a name; an unseen face
    and knowing not your time nor place
    Tomorrow’s Child, though yet unborn,
    I met you first last Tuesday morn.

    A wise friend introduced us two,
    and through his shining point of view
    I saw a day that you would see;
    a day for you, but not for me

    Knowing you has changed my thinking,
    for I never had an inkling
    That perhaps the things I do
    might someday, somehow, threaten you

    Tomorrow’s Child, my daughter-son
    I’m afraid I’ve just begun
    To think of you and of your good,
    Though always having known I should.

    Begin I will to weigh the cost
    of what I squander; what is lost
    If ever I forget that you
    will someday come to live here too.