CHAGRIN FALLS, OHIO—Johnsonite, the commercial arm of Tarkett, was recently awarded two prestigious environmental certifications for the sustainable content and production of their Harmonium xf linoleum flooring: a certified United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) BioPreferred program Biobased Product Label, and a Cradle to Cradle (C2C) Silver tier certification. Currently the company’s linoleum consists of 80% biogenic materials and Harmonium xf Linoleum has the highest rapidly renewable content in the industry, according to company executives.
Cradle to Cradle is an independent environmental certification process for materials and products, assessing the total impact of a product on human health and the environment as well as the capacity for the product to be recycled or safely composted. Products are assessed based on five categories: materials, material reutilization/design for environment, energy, water and social responsibility. The Silver certificate means all ingredients used to manufacture the linoleum were identified and positively assessed. For the production process, energy and water use were characterized and water stewardship guidelines were signed based on C2C criteria. For example, the production site of the Tarkett linoleum products based in Narni, Italy uses a closed loop process for cooling and is committed to increasing the share of renewable energies.
The USDA’s BioPreferred program recognizes flooring products that contain a minimum of 75% biobased content with an approved product label, with Johnsonite’s Harmonium xf Linoleum achieving 95% biobased content value. The program serves as a partnership between the institution and manufacturers aimed at increasing the use of biobased products as well as voluntary labeling for consumer identification.
“These certifications are just the first of many benchmarks in Tarkett’s commitment to the Cradle to Cradle ideal,” said Michel Giannuzzi, president of Tarkett. “What was once a focus on product life-cycle is now about making the products endlessly useful, providing a balance in the eco-system, and with our new strategies, an economic and social balance as well.”
The company’s linoleum is made from materials such as linseed oil, pine resin, jute, wood and cork flour. Based on the assessment process, Johnsonite, along with Tarkett, has developed a phase-out plan for certain ingredients that will continue to improve the biogenic contents and C2C ranking of the product. Cured post-industrial linoleum has already been used in the production process, and Tarkett is doing investigations on howto increase the percentage used to achieve up to a 30% savings in raw materials.
Both Johnsonite and Tarkett work to ensure that all products and processes are designed with conservation and environmental impact in mind as part of their Balanced Choice philosophy. In early 2011, Tarkett signed a partnership with the German scientific institute EPEA (Environmental Protection and Encouragement Agency) to deploy the Cradle to Cradle concept, which has been adopted by Johnsonite as well. Rather than systematically seeking to consume less, Johnsonite and Tarkett, along with EPEA, seek to design products that go into technical cycles forever, including the ability to be recycled, reused and upcycled, which involves improving both the biobased materials used and the process by which they are created. In terms of the larger social responsibility, the company is committed to the UN Global Compact 10 principles, has published a code of ethics and integrated global compact in procurement contracts.