Tech a Founding Partner in Sustainability \'Mission\'

The Institute has joined with a leading global carpet manufacturer in providing a Web-based resource that strives to create a community of people working toward becoming carbon neutral.

Interface Inc. founder and Tech alumnus Ray Anderson realized in 1994 that he wanted his companies to become environmentally sustainable. This initiative expanded beyond just Interface Inc., and was given both name and form late last year with Mission Zero, an online platform for companies and individuals to learn from and assist others in the effort.

"Anyone anywhere can participate [through the online component], which is so exciting to us because it is the community, not Interface, who will determine where this will go," said InterfaceFLOR Senior Vice President of Marketing Joyce LaVelle. The Web site offers news, interactive education, social networking, peer-to-peer interaction and partnerships with key corporate, educational and industry representatives, she says. Members can join groups, post news stories and blogs, pose questions on sustainability and give advice on best practices.

In this early phase, LaVelle says efforts are concentrated on expansion-spreading the word and attracting new members. In time, community members will share best practices and spark new innovations. "I don't think it's overly ambitious to say we expect that the more minds who gather and share their knowledge through this online community, the more we and the planet will benefit," LaVelle said. "We sought out thought leaders who will contribute valuable information to the site and be able to recruit their own stakeholders to become members who will build and sustain the community."

Anderson solicited Tech to be a Mission Zero founding partner since the Institute's goals of leadership in environmental sustainability echo his own. "Georgia Tech will certainly enrich the community through its knowledge base and technology innovations," LaVelle said. "And this will happen at every level, from the Institute's leading researchers to its students, faculty and staff."

College of Management Professor Terry Blum was the initial point of contact for Mission Zero, an opportunity, she says, the Institute "seized."

"Mission Zero provides an open system for communicating about the interdisciplinary space of sustainability," Blum said. "Because of Georgia Tech's early leadership in sustainability, we were given the opportunity to be a founding participant in the Mission Zero Community. We build on the legacy of [our] alumni, including Ray Anderson of Interface and Brook Byers of Kleiner Perkins, the research programs and innovations of our faculty, research scientists, staff and our awesome students. Leadership in social and environmental sustainability is integrated into our defining of the technological university of the 21st century. Our participation provides the power to create the world in which we want to live."

To join, visit Green Buzz, Tech's environmental sustainability Web site, and click the Join Mission Zero button.

The Georgia Institute of Technology is one of the world's premier research universities. Ranked seventh among U.S. News & World Report's top public universities and the eighth best engineering and information technology university in the world by Shanghai Jiao Tong University's Academic Ranking of World Universities, Georgia Tech’s more than 20,000 students are enrolled in its Colleges of Architecture, Computing, Engineering, Liberal Arts, Management and Sciences. Tech is among the nation's top producers of women and minority engineers. The Institute offers research opportunities to both undergraduate and graduate students and is home to more than 100 interdisciplinary units plus the Georgia Tech Research Institute.