Calhoun—Mohawk Group and Humanscale broadened the conversation on sustainability last week with a series of talks, “How Transparency is Changing the World,” illustrating how manufacturers are creating designs that contribute to healthy spaces, demonstrate product transparency and give back to the earth. Jason F. McLennan, founder of the International Living Future Institute (ILFI) and the Living Product Challenge, was the series’ featured speaker.
The Living Product Challenge is a platform that not only sets the highest standards for commercial manufacturing practices and procedures, but also strategically strives to reconcile the relationship between humanity and the natural world. End users, architects and designers were given a behind-the-scenes look at how Mohawk Group and Humanscale became the first two manufacturers to achieve the Living Product Challenge in their product categories: flooring and furniture, respectively.
Interest in Living Products is growing in the workplace, which makes up the largest percentage of all interior spaces. “With research showing we spend 90% of our time indoors, designers and end users in the workplace segment are keenly aware and highly selective when specifying products for their space,” said Mark Oliver, vice president of workplace and retail segments, Mohawk Group. “They require more thoughtfully-designed products to ensure the happiness and well-being of their employees and associates. They also realize the product selections they make can have an impact on the environment around them and prefer selecting products that have a net positive impact on the environment versus those that are more wasteful. Workplace design today is leading the charge in high styled, highly sustainable manufacturing, and we at Mohawk are proud to be at the forefront.”
Mohawk received the first Living Product Challenge Petal certification in flooring for its Lichen carpet planks. Meeting the program’s place, water, and health and happiness petals, the biophilic-designed collection is on track to give more resources back to the environment than it uses during its entire life cycle. The company is poised to do more.
“We see the Living Product Challenge as almost a moral obligation,” Oliver said. “At Mohawk, we believe in better. As the leading flooring manufacturer in the world, it is our responsibility to lead, to innovate and to never be satisfied with the status quo. Mohawk isn’t done with simply launching one Living Product.”
Humanscale was awarded full Living Product Certification for its Diffrient Smart chair and Float table. Jane Abernethy, Humanscale sustainability officer, says Mohawk Group and Humanscale are fitting partners in this series on sustainability. “We share a vision that manufacturers can be part of the solution to our environmental issues, the tenacity to overcome many obstacles in pursuit of this vision and the willingness to change our operations to make this vision a reality.”
The talk series is meant to celebrate and appreciate those working toward greater sustainability and to educate those seeking to become involved. “We need to reset the conversation,” Abernethy said. “Often, environmental or social concerns are pitted against economic concerns—especially when people are afraid of change. Instead, the Living Product Challenge looks at how manufacturing can be part of the solution to social and environmental issues. Then, the world is made better off as the business grows.”
Mohawk is thrilled with the relationship with ILFI and Humanscale, Oliver said. “Imagine: an end-use customer could have a full Living Product suite if they used our flooring and Humanscale’s furniture,” he said. “We look forward to continuing this event series throughout 2018 and talking to more people about the benefits of sustainability.”