Eline Oudenbroek, Interface: “Our supply chain is almost completely circular and bio-based”

Eline Oudenbroek Interface

In 1994, the founder of Interface, a manufacturer of carpet, rubber and vinyl tiles, launched ‘Mission Zero’ and set himself the goal of eliminating the company’s negative impact on the planet by 2020. He succeeded, which meant it’s time for a new initiative: Climate Take Back, aimed at helping to reverse global warming. One of its pillars is to use CO2 as a resource and raw material rather than viewing it as an enemy. This has huge implications for products, and thus for the total supply chain. How is Eline Oudenbroek, VP of Operations, leading the organization through all these changes?

Eline Oudenbroek is a qualified chemical technologist. She is used to being a woman in a man’s world and has never automatically followed the well-trodden paths. She started her career as head of the business management department at can manufacturer T&D. When the euro was introduced and all European mints – which had previously made their own products – had to switch to more or less the same product simultaneously, she was operations manager at De Nederlandse Munt (the Dutch mint). Besides the technical side, she was also responsible for the associated change management.

When she subsequently had children, she worked in interim positions for a while. “Although maternity leave is scheduled leave, most companies still find it incredibly difficult to hire women for operations positions when they are of child-bearing age,” she says. “It’s very strange. After all, men can get sick, and that is unscheduled. Additionally, employers seem to be afraid that once women become mothers, they will be more focused on their children than on their work. They apparently have no such concerns about fathers.”

It is precisely because of this that she is now, at Interface, making it easy for both mothers and fathers to achieve the right work-life balance and is creating an appealing environment for employees of all ages and from different backgrounds and cultures. She sees it as an opportunity to fish people out of the talent pool even if they don’t tick all the traditional boxes. … … …

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