This recognises our commitment to openness and to presenting the environmental performance data that our customers need to make truly informed decisions.
Studying a product's full life cycle
EPDs follow a rigorous process in accordance with agreed industry standards. In addition to sharing what is typically confidential product information, we carried out a thorough life cycle assessment (LCA) for our products, in line with ISO 14040 standards. This covers everything from raw material extraction through to disposal or recycling at the end of the product's useful life.
GUT, who represent the carpet industry on environmental matters in Europe, developed a standard LCA methodology to be used on EPDs across the carpet industry in Europe.
The Institute for the Built Environment (IBU), together with industry associations for the flooring sector, has developed Product Category Rules (PCR) outlining the information needed for a ‘Floor Coverings’ EPD. IBU acts as the third party verifier and for both the LCA and the process and ensures the EPD follows IBU’s standardised scheme.
A first for our Microtuft modular carpet tiles
Our Flatworks range of Microtuft modular carpet tiles – which includes Scandinavian Collection, Straightforward and Elevation II, and contain 30-50% less oil-based yarn than other products – is the first product category to receive EPD validation.
The EPD results show that the majority of environmental impact happens during the extraction and transformation of raw materials, before they even reach the factory. Yarn creates the largest impact, with virgin yarn accounting for around 50% of the full life cycle Global Warming Potential of the carpet.
The EPD results for our Microtuft products also show that by reducing the amount of yarn we use and increasing the use of materials containing recycled content – such as polyamide (nylon) yarn – we have significantly reduced environmental impacts.
Committed to full product transparency
We are committed to full product transparency, and much like the ingredients lists and nutrition labels on food allow for direct comparisons, EPDs will enable our customers to compare products’ ingredients, energy and material resource consumption, and environmental impacts.
Common metrics for the future
We believe EPDs will become the standard for environmental product information in a few years time and play an increasingly important role for architects to acquire comparable verified information about building products. We support this development and aim to have an EPD for all our products by 2012.