Making Living Products is Second Nature at Our Glasgow Plant

By George Bandy Jr., Chief Sustainability Officer, Mohawk Industries
Jun 17, 2019 3:15 PM ET
Article

This article is sponsored by Mohawk Industries.

Mohawk Group, the commercial division of Mohawk Industries, now has more than 300 flooring products that have been certified by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI) as having achieved the stringent requirements for Living Product Challenge Petal Certification. Because most of the products are carpet tile styles made in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley at our Glasgow facility, we saw it only fitting to refer to Glasgow as our first "Living Site."

A Living Site, in our minds, is one that takes seriously our Believe in Better mission to have a net positive impact for people and the environment through innovations in materials, manufacturing and community involvement. And Glasgow shines at this.

With the introduction of the first Living Product in flooring, our Lichen Collection, in 2017, we embarked upon a difficult but ultimately satisfying path toward sustainability. The success of Lichen spurred us on to create more Living Products, and in 2018, we expanded our portfolio of carbon-neutral Living Products to six with the NeoCon introductions of Nutopia carpet tile, Nutopia Matrix carpet plank, Sunweave broadloom, Sunweave area rugs and Pivot Point Red List-free enhanced resilient tile. At this year’s NeoCon, we have announced that we have made a giant leap to become a major source of sustainable flooring — all carpet tile products manufactured in our Glasgow plant with ColorStrand and/or Duracolor fiber and EcoFlex Matrix, EcoFlex NXT or EcoFlex NXT AIR carpet tile backing are officially certified as Living Products.

Living Product introductions at NeoCon 2019 included Relaxing Floors and Textural Effects carpet plank styles.

In the process to achieve Living Product certification, our employees and plants have become actively involved in building a resource-responsible culture. They are excited to take on the challenges of making sustainable flooring that benefits our customers, our employees and their communities. Last year, our motto was "Handprints over Footprints." This year, we are rallying around "Second Nature" to show that better sustainability, design, innovation, project solutions and operational excellence are second nature to Mohawk.

As the largest flooring manufacturer in the world, we have proved that it is possible and profitable to protect our planet, provide healthier products to our customers and ensure that our employees live healthier lives, work safely, develop professionally and plan for better futures.

Here is how our Living Site went about achieving Living Product status for hundreds of products. It all comes down to meeting several ILFI "Petals":

  • Place Petal: We are committed to improving the eco-region around our Glasgow plant by maintaining two National Wildlife Federation Certified Habitats and an apiary as well as being a founding member of Businesses for the Bay. Through conservation easements, we protect lands rich with diverse habitats ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come.
  • Water Petal: We save more water than is used to create our products in Glasgow by multiple water conservation and restoration projects, such as installing low-flow showerheads on the campuses of our university partners to offset our water usage in the manufacturing process.
  • Energy Petal: We significantly have reduced the energy footprint of the products made in Glasgow.
  • Health & Happiness Petal: All of our Living Products have achieved third party-verified Declared Red List-free status — that means our products do not contain materials that are harmful to our customers or employees. We also provide our Glasgow employees with rich connections to the natural world and continual on-site health and wellness support.
  • Materials Petal: As a company, we ensure compliance and advocate for sustainable resource extraction and fair labor practices within our industry. We also work to create pathways for net positive carbon products through carbon sequestration and conservation of forests.
  • Equity Petal: We evaluate the supply chain for compliance with ethical standards and identify social risks. Mohawk partners with nonprofits such as Susan G. Komen and Groundswell to provide important social benefits. Since 2001, Mohawk has donated over $5 million to Susan G. Komen to support the fight against breast cancer. Working with Groundswell, we are installing 10 SmartFlower solar systems at STEM schools around the country to bring solar power to underserved communities, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and offset the energy and resources used during some of our manufacturing processes in Glasgow.
  • Beauty Petal: We use biophilic design and global collaborative partnerships to create all new Living Products, helping to enrich our connection to the natural world.

Yes, we are proud of our Living Products and our Living Site and its employees. We hope our Living Products inspire customers to make sustainable choices in flooring, but we also hope by explaining our journey that other companies will step up to the challenge of contributing to our "Living World."

For additional information on Mohawk Group’s Living Product Challenge Petal Certification, please contact Mohawk Industries’ senior manager of sustainability, Rami Vagal, at rami_vagal@mohawkind.com.