Interface is now certified as a Carbon Neutral Enterprise according to the PAS 2060 standard, the leading international standard on carbon neutrality created by the British Standards Institution (BSI).
In the last Sustainability Unravelled blog series, we explored what it takes to become a carbon neutral company. Key to that journey has been a wholesale shift towards more sustainable, carbon neutral products, so in this blog let’s take a look at the steps we’ve taken over the years to revolutionise our product design for the sake of the environment.
To transform our product offering, it was essential to first understand the existing carbon impact of our products and services.
Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs) represent the globally accepted way of measuring the environmental impact of a product or service.
Ultimately, an LCA explores what is taken from the environment in the creation and use of a product – from raw materials and manufacturing, to the impact of a product throughout installation, use, and right up to the end of its life.
The resulting data can then be used to create an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) – a comprehensive, transparent and verified accounting of the environmental impact of a product or service’s full value chain. EPDs provide a foundation that can be used to help support low carbon design and purchasing decisions.
Putting Change into Motion
LCAs and EPDs provide a holistic view that allows businesses to take stock of their current environmental impact. This understanding provides a great foundation to begin reducing the carbon footprint of a product or service at each stage of its life cycle.
Here’s how we did it at Interface:
|Life cycle stage
|Footprint reduction options
|Use & Maintenance
|End of Life
Reduce, Reduce, Reduce
At Interface, every product we make is now carbon neutral – that’s any product, anywhere in the world.
We have achieved this through more than 25 years of work analysing our carbon emissions at every stage of a product’s life – all based on the mantra that you cannot manage what you do not measure.
We are continually working to reduce our emissions and have already switched to using 100% renewable electricity in our operations, but we’ll keep working on our energy efficiency and adopting more innovative routes to support renewable energy.
We also know that we can still reduce emissions further for the elements we control: raw materials and manufacturing. That’s why we developed our innovative CQuest™Bio and CQuest™BioX backings to drastically reduce the carbon footprint of our products, with the latter enabling us to create the lowest cradle-to-gate carbon footprint carpet tile products on the market.
Our biggest carbon reductions have been through redesigning our products, embracing renewable energy and working with our suppliers to ensure that we lower the carbon footprint of our raw materials. However, in our previous blog, we explained that the majority of our remaining carbon impact lies with our supply chain and, in particular, purchased goods and materials. Where it’s not been possible to reduce or eliminate this carbon impact, we’ve ensured our emissions are offset through other means.
Offsetting to Support New Climate Projects
Carbon offset schemes allow individuals and companies to invest in credits in environmental projects to offset or balance out their own carbon footprint.
Having measured the emissions relating to a product or service, you look to offset them against another separate and unrelated process that prevents the release of greenhouse gases or actually removes them. Types of commonly used offset projects include renewable energy projects or reforestation schemes.
At Interface, offsets represent a vital part of our sustainability journey – once all other carbon reduction efforts have been exhausted, offsets allow us to balance what we cannot eliminate. This, in turn, allows us to create products that are carbon neutral for their whole throughout their entire lifespan.
In the third part of this series, we’ll explore the role of carbon offsets in more detail.
Are you on a sustainability journey? We’d love to hear about it. Get in touch, or find out more about our sustainable solutions.