In the flooring business, how a product is made is just as important as how it performs. Virtually every product, regardless of category, leaves a manufacturing footprint. To that end, environmentally consciousness suppliers are mindful of the impact of not only their production processes but also their sourcing strategies. Following are some recent examples of companies that have committed to sustainability initiatives in support of the environment:
Mannington Mills recently signed onto the United Nations Global Compact, demonstrating its commitment to advancing best practices concerning human rights, labor, the environment and anti-corruption.
The United Nations Global Compact, initiated in 2000 and billed as “the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative,” provides a universal language for corporate responsibility and a framework to guide all businesses regardless of size, complexity or location.
“This is an important step in our company’s ongoing journey to drive meaningful environmental change on a broad scale,” said Tom Pendley, president and CEO. “By committing to this compact, we are following one of our core values to ‘do the right thing.’ More importantly, we are aligning our sustainability strategies with an established and highly respected global framework that will create significant impact. As a private, family-owned company, we’re excited to be a part of this global compact working towards these important standards.”
To join the United Nations Global Compact, Mannington Mills completed a rigorous self-assessment to gain a baseline understanding of where it stood across the compact’s four key areas of human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption. The company will now report annually on the actions it has taken, the results it has achieved and the actions it plans to take to gain improvement across those areas. It also pledges to incorporate the compact’s “Ten Principles” into its overall strategies, policies and procedures. Mannington said it is already integrating new strategies and actions among its entire operations to apply the compact’s principles.
In the past year, Mannington Mills has also committed to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. As the company works to reduce the absolute emissions from its operations and supply chain, it said it is committed to immediate reductions in global emissions by offsetting at 105% the equivalent “cradle-to-gate” greenhouse gas emissions of all of its domestically manufactured commercial flooring products. The company has also committed to full transparency on 100% of the ingredients used in its products by disclosing higher levels of information so customers can be better informed about Mannington’s environmental product standards.
Mannington Mills joins only a select few floor covering manufacturers that have taken the public and voluntary step to sign the United Nations Global Compact in an effort to transform the world through principled business practices. Overall, there are approximately 18,000 companies and 3,800 non-business participants representing nearly every industry sector and size that have signed the compact.
Last month, Mohawk Industries released its 2022 Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Report, an extensive document that details the company’s progress toward its goals in these areas. Titled “Connections that Create Value,” the report aims to demonstrate Mohawk’s leadership position in these fields, with a special emphasis on environmental stewardship.
“Our ESG Report allows us to share actions creating measurable progress toward our goals as well as stories of activities taking place across our business,” said Malisa Maynard, chief sustainability officer at Mohawk. “It’s important for people to know that sustainability at Mohawk isn’t just the work of one department. The ESG Report is the story of thousands of people across the business doing good work in the facilities, in the field, on the road and in our communities. Our leadership is rooted in the important contributions of all those individuals.”
The 2022 ESG Report contains many highlights, but Maynard emphasized a few standouts:
While the 2022 ESG Report showcases Mohawk’s efforts on the sustainability front, the findings also have ramifications for each segment/audience the company serves. These include customers, consumers, shareholders, communities and employees. In much the same way that labels on food packaging provide nutritional and sourcing information to help consumers make their purchasing decisions, the 2022 ESG Report provides essential information regarding Mohawk’s approach to sourcing, manufacturing and overall operational objectives.
“Consumers today want to know details,” Maynard explained. “When you buy an item online, you see a lot of information about what it was made from, how it was made, where it was made, etc. If you order from chain restaurants online, you’ll notice most of them now post-nutritional information. Consumers want to make informed decisions and good choices for themselves and their families. For our customers, the ESG Report provides topics to share with consumers to begin a dialogue about wants and needs.”
For floor covering retail sales associates and store owners, the 2022 ESG Report doubles as an educational tool. To that end, Mohawk offers a two-page condensed version of the report that focuses on the highlights. “This summary is a great tool to have on hand if a consumer asks about Mohawk’s commitment to people and the planet,” Maynard explained.
Earlier this year Shaw Industries released its 15th annual corporate sustainability report, which highlights the company’s progress toward its goals in material health, clean air and climate protection, product circularity, water and soil stewardship and social fairness. Through continuous improvement and innovation across the enterprise, Shaw said it is on track to optimize 100% of its products to Cradle to Cradle design principles and to achieve net-zero emissions in its enterprise operations by 2030.
“Our relentless curiosity and focus on customer needs led to a record-breaking $7 billion in revenue in 2022 while navigating an increasingly complex global market,” said Tim Baucom, Shaw president and CEO. “Sustainability is a core aspect of Shaw’s vision as we endeavor to support our customers in achieving their objectives alongside our own.”
The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) recognized those efforts during its annual Greenbuild conference where it named Shaw Industries a 2023 Leadership Award recipient. Shaw was one of five recipients from around the world to be recognized.
“USGBC members serve as the driving force behind the worldwide green building movement, helping push the entire industry to strive for greater efforts in constructing healthier, more sustainable communities,” said Peter Templeton, president and CEO of USGBC. “The recipients of this year’s Leadership Awards exemplify their unwavering dedication to sustainable solutions, contributing significantly to our collective pursuit of global climate objectives.”
Specifically, Shaw was recognized by USGBC for its long-standing commitment to sustainability, which the group identified as efforts to advance environmental sustainability, human health and social equity in the built environment. Shaw’s work to certify products that contribute towards LEED building credits allow customers to specify products that align with building owner’s efforts to create spaces and places that support health and well-being of the planet and its inhabitants.
“I was humbled to accept this prestigious recognition from the USGBC,” said Kellie Ballew, Shaw’s vice president of global sustainability and innovation, in accepting the award on Shaw’s behalf. “It takes manufacturers, designers and architects, and building owners and users working together to address global challenges around climate change, health and well-being, circularity and social equity. I am proud of Shaw’s leadership in these areas, and the collaboration we’ve had with USGBC through the years.”
The 2023 Leadership Award recipients represent some of the best of USGBC’s 6,000-plus members, a network of committed professionals with more than 100,000 LEED projects in more than 180 countries and territories around the world. The efforts of the award recipients stand out as exceptional examples of sustainability leadership among a strong and growing network of projects, companies and individuals.