Continuing the Legacy — Educating the Ray C. Andersons of Tomorrow
Vision and Mission
We focus on educating tomorrow's business leaders, partnering with industry practitioners, and supporting high-impact research to accelerate the development of sustainable business practices.
The urgency and opportunity for sustainable business practices have never been greater. Our Center focuses on amplifying our students' passion for problem-solving, our faculty's cutting-edge research, and the power of industry to create a better world for current and future generations. We work across four thematic areas.
The Center (originally the Center for Business Strategies for Sustainability) launched at the Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business in 2013 with support from the Ray C. Anderson Foundation, the Kendeda Fund, and College leadership.
It was founded upon the desire to accelerate the development and adoption of sustainable business practices through educational programs, high-impact research, and industry engagement. In January 2015, after receiving a $5 million commitment from the Ray C. Anderson Foundation, the Center was named to honor sustainable business visionary and Georgia Tech alumnus Ray C. Anderson (IE ’56, Honorary Ph.D. ’11).
After graduating from Georgia Tech with a degree in industrial engineering, Ray C. Anderson started a career in textiles. In 1973, he founded his company, Interface. It eventually became the world’s largest manufacturer of modular floor coverings.
By 1994, Interface was successful by every business metric. However, when asked what Interface was doing for the environment, Ray was unsatisfied with a response limited to regulation and compliance. He sought inspiration and guidance from the book, The Ecology of Commerce, where he encountered Paul Hawken’s assertion that industry is both the sector responsible for the greatest amount of environmental harm as well as the only sector with the necessary size and capital to turn things around. Hawken’s words led to a “spear in the chest” moment for Ray. From that moment, he committed the rest of his life to making Interface a breakthrough leader in corporate sustainability and to advocating for a paradigm shift in business thinking.
Ray believed fundamentally that when done right, business can be a force for good in the world. We are honored to continue his legacy by educating “the Ray C. Andersons of tomorrow.”
Uniting diverse backgrounds and expertise, our leadership and staff share three common goals: to support and disseminate high-impact research, to empower students and practitioners, and to nurture networks of change agents for sustainability innovation and integration.