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Interface Dives In For New Belgium Brewing

Words by Gina-Marie Cheeseman
Leadership & Transparency
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A group of Interface employees are pictured on the company’s blog site in bathing suits in the Chattahoochee River in Atlanta holding carpet tiles that spell out, “We're with you.” Why would employees from Interface, a company that makes modular carpet tiles, stand in their swimsuits holding a sign? They're voicing support for New Belgium Brewing Co., which is facing a boycott in a Colorado town over donations to environmental groups.

When the news came out earlier this summer that New Belgium donated to the nonprofit group WildEarth Guardians, the northwestern Colorado town of Craig started a boycott of the craft brewing company. Craig is a coal-mining town, and WildEarth Guardians brought a lawsuit against the Department of the Interior over its environmental impact assessment. Many residents in Craig depend on work in the coal mine.

GreenBiz reported that last May “judges found officials had given the green light to an expansion of the mine without considering the full environmental impacts of burning more coal.” The Department of the Interior will not appeal the ruling.

New Belgium is a company that believes strongly in sustainability. As stated on its website, “We believe in using every tool at our disposal to create the vibrant future we envision for the earth and her inhabitants.” It’s a company that puts its proverbial money where its mouth is, as is evidenced by its support of WildEarth Guardians. Not bad at all for the fourth largest brewing company in the U.S.

Judging by statements by Dana Villeneuve, sustainability specialist at New Belgium, the brewing company is not deterred by the boycott in Craig. “We work very hard to be very, very frank about how much coal and natural gas we use to make our beer because we think it would be incredibly hypocritical of us to do otherwise,” Villeneuve said. “And simultaneously we believe in advocating for a future where renewables are a bigger piece of the pie.”

Interface’s support of New Belgium speaks volumes about its commitment to sustainability. As stated in a blog post, Interface employees stood in the Chattahoochee River in Atlanta to “tell another courageous business that we support them.” Interface and New Belgium are clearly two companies with a passionate and deep commitment to creating a better future. With companies like them, we really do stand a chance of carving the kind of future that the planet and its people need.

Image credit: Interface

Gina-Marie Cheeseman

Gina-Marie is a freelance writer and journalist armed with a degree in journalism, and a passion for social justice, including the environment and sustainability. She writes for various websites, and has made the 75+ Environmentalists to Follow list by Mashable.com.

Read more stories by Gina-Marie Cheeseman