November 6/13, 2017: Volume 32, Issue 11
With consumers and commercial end users placing more emphasis on environmentally friendly products, suppliers are working hard to ensure the products they source and develop do not pose health risks to customers. More manufacturers are providing chain-of-custody documentation as well as relevant environmental and operational certifications to demonstrate their compliance with regulatory statutes pertaining to the production of a host of hard and soft surface products. Suppliers see this as an opportunity to reinforce the message that they are continuing to meet or surpass the guidelines and federal/local regulations governing the manufacturing of engineered floor coverings.
Following are some examples of how suppliers are keeping it clean by meeting or exceeding environmental compliance standards.
Armstrong has a long history of environmental stewardship, from reusing cork waste for linoleum floors in the early 1900s to planting hardwoods to replace the wood the company uses to make floors today. Today, sustainability continues as a core focus of its business.
The company’s products meet and have met the toughest standards for indoor air quality (IAQ) and environmental manufacturing for years. Armstrong Flooring recently achieved FloorScore certification for its solid hardwood products including the Armstrong, Bruce and Capella brands. All Armstrong wood manufacturing facilities including Beverly, W.Va.; Warren, Ark.; and West Plains, Mo.; are also now FloorScore certified. Supporting certification programs such as FloorScore help advance Armstrong’s corporate mission to the environment and green practices throughout the manufacturing industry. All totaled, more than 95% of all Armstrong Flooring products by volume are FloorScore certified, including engineered wood, laminate, luxury vinyl flooring, linoleum, vinyl tile, vinyl sheet flooring and adhesives.
While most of Armstrong’s volume is domestically produced, the company only accepts composite wood products that are certified to meet CARB requirements. In addition, on an annual basis the company randomly tests its products at the Hardwood Products Veneer Association (HPVA) lab in Virginia for Occupational Safety and Health Administration requirements. As always, Armstrong is committed to providing the best quality, safest products by taking the steps necessary, including meeting and even exceeding regulatory requirements.
Furthermore, Armstrong has supply agreements in place requiring suppliers to follow CARB regulations. In addition to those agreements, the company is committed to taking actions to make sure it sources compliant products, has certificates and labels product properly. To support these initiatives, Armstrong has sourcing managers on the ground in China and product stewardship personnel in Lancaster, Pa., who ensure product compliance and regularly monitor that testing and certifications are up to date.
All applicable Mannington flooring products comply with the California Air Resource Board’s (CARB) Airborne Toxic Control Measure (ATCM) 93120 Title 17, California Code of Regulations, and meet or exceed CARB 2 standards. The vast majority of Mannington flooring is also FloorScore IAQ certified, which means the products are independently certified by Scientific Certification Systems to comply with the emissions criteria of the California Section 01350 program. Both CARB and FloorScore test for formaldehyde. Any product that has met these stringent standards is considered a low-VOC product that will contribute to good indoor air quality.
Looking at individual product categories, Mannington laminate flooring is 100% made in the U.S. at its manufacturing facilities in North Carolina. The products are certified to a standard set by the North American Laminate Flooring Association (NALFA) called the NALFA LF-01 standard. In the hardwood category, more than 80% of Mannington’s engineered hardwood products are made in the U.S. at its manufacturing facilities in Alabama and North Carolina. All domestically produced Mannington hardwood products are FloorScore IAQ certified while all imported hardwood flooring products have been tested and comply with CARB 2. In resilient, Mannington sheet, Adura and porcelain do not contain formaldehyde. Furthermore, all three product categories have been certified to the FloorScore IAQ standard.
Mannington has a long-standing commitment to quality and safety. All of its products have passed third-party environmental testing and meet or exceed the highest standards in the industry.
Mercier Generations products are Greenguard Gold Certified—the highest environmental certification on the market—and are made using 100% pure soybean oil. Mercier Generations flooring passes stringent environmental tests at every step in the finishing, dying and varnishing process in order to meet that standard. The Greenguard Gold Certification requirements comply with California’s Department of Public Health Services Standard Practice for Specification Section 01350 (California Section 01350) for testing chemical emissions from building products used in schools and other environments. Beyond that, every adhesive used in Mercier’s engineered products are free of urea-formaldehyde and hardwood plywood used in Mercier’s engineered products are CARB 2 compliant. In addition, laboratory tests reveal that Mercier Generations finish does not have any formaldehyde emissions and performs beyond the LEED norm and the environmental certification choice program regarding VOCs.
At Boa-Franc, maker of the Mirage brand, everything is done with one eye on sustainable development because the company firmly believes there is no better way to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Its corporate values and strategies were geared toward sustainable development from the very beginning.
Some examples of this stewardship in sustainability measures include the procurement from vendors who practice responsible forestry methods according to the Lacey Act. In complying with this law, Mirage makes international environmental protection a priority as part of its approach to sustainable development. The Mirage brand guarantees customers peace of mind by providing them with hardwood floors made from natural resources that are soundly managed and legally harvested.
Furthermore, all Mirage products are manufactured in North American facilities, which enables complete control in all facets of production, including meeting implemented ISO-9001 standards. Mirage products are also FSC certified, meaning the raw materials used in the manufacturing process have been inspected and legally harvested in non-genetically modified forests where traditional and civil rights are respected.
Mohawk’s commitment remains to responsibly manufacture and provide the highest quality engineered hardwood and laminate floors that meet strict U.S. guidelines. Products across the Mohawk Hard Surface, Quick-Step, Columbia and Pergo portfolios have earned the following health and sustainability certifications: CARB Phase 2, NALFA and FloorScore. In addition, all of Mohawk’s hardwood flooring is Lacey Act compliant, ensuring the timber used is responsibly harvested from sustainable forests, and Appalachian Hardwood Manufacturers (AHMI) has verified data from the U.S. Forest Service that Appalachian Hardwood Territory timber—which Mohawk uses in select hardwood flooring lines—is sustainably certified.
Mohawk places a high priority on making certain the products retailers receive surpass the most rigorous testing. Mohawk, Quick-Step’s Q-Wood, Pergo and Columbia domestically produce engineered hardwoods. Also, Quick-Step, Pergo, Columbia and Mohawk’s patented glueless Uniclic technology provides fast, easy installation of laminate planks without adversely impacting indoor air quality.
Consumers want confidence in the products they buy. They want impartial experts to evaluate what materials are in a product and whether the way those ingredients are used in a particular product could be a concern. That’s where “green seals” or certifications can be very helpful.
That’s one of the key reasons why Shaw Floors goes beyond standards required by law to pursue independent, third-party assessments such as Cradle to Cradle, Greenguard, Green Label Plus, FloorScore and others.
It’s important for retailers, as a homeowner’s trusted advisor, to understand the variety of product certifications available for flooring including what each certification tests for, how that information is tested (i.e. by an independent third party) and how frequent those tests occurred. Furthermore, it’s incumbent on manufacturers to ensure their products are verified and clearly labeled and that ongoing education and training is provided to retailers to help them communicate to customers what those third-party certifications mean. By providing ongoing training to retailers, information on point of purchase displays and on shawfloors.com, the company aims to provide information and tools to help consumers make their purchase decisions.
Shaw has a long-standing commitment to sustainability, and the company strives to build upon its legacy of leadership every day. The company carefully considers the impact of its products on the environment and on society throughout the life cycle of the floors. Shaw examines the ingredient materials, the impact of its supply chain, the use of natural resources and the ability to recover and recycle its products.
In addition, Shaw manufactures many of its own products and sources from strategic partners in the U.S. and internationally to offer a broad portfolio of products to meet diverse customer preferences. In doing so, the company sets high standards for itself and its suppliers. Shaw takes numerous steps to verify that its products—regardless of where or by whom they are manufactured—meet customers’ high expectations. This includes: performing manufacturing site inspections to ensure suppliers meet the same high-quality standards Shaw sets for itself; setting raw material specifications that restrict the use of certain chemical substances of concern; and ensuring all products meet the indoor air emissions requirements of California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Standard Method V1.1 (2010) and that relevant products meet California Air Resources Board (CARB) and Lacey Act requirements.
Beyond meeting regulatory requirements, Shaw employs third-party certifications to provide further confidence in the products it manufactures.
For example: 85% of the products Shaw manufactures are Cradle to Cradle Certified, including nylon and polyester carpet as well as solid and engineered hardwood. In addition, many of Shaw’s resilient products are FloorScore certified, and all Shaw manufactured carpet products are GLP certified. Lastly, all of Shaw’s hardwood and laminate flooring is Greenguard certified.
Tarkett practices sustainability through its ‘closed loop circular design’ model, which is Tarkett’s way of best applying the Cradle to Cradle principles to support the development of the circular economy. The company works in partnership with the German scientific institute EPEA (Environmental Protection Encouragement Agency) to apply these principles across all its activities and product ranges.
Tarkett’s sustainable product design approach earned its recognition through its selection as one of the first companies to join the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Circular Economy 100 program in February 2013.
Several product ranges have already received a Cradle to Cradle certification: Gold level for linoleum Veneto Essenza 100% linen produced in Narni (Italy); silver level for linoleum, also produced in Narni; wood manufactured in Hanaskog (Sweden) and Poland; and basic level for rubber made in the USA and artificial turf produced in Auchel (France), Valls (Spain) and Calhoun, Ga. Since February 2010, Tarkett has been a member of the KKR Green Portfolio Program. Designed in partnership with the non-governmental organization Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), the program requires Tarkett to commit to improving its environmental performance, including in the areas of greenhouse gas emissions, waste, water, forest stewardship and chemical product use.