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Tarkett Optimizes Its Flooring Products for Cradle to Cradle Certification

Flooring manufacturer Tarkett is proving that striving for sustainability can net many positive gains. The company’s global initiatives aimed at product and ingredient optimization not only seek to have a positive impact on people and the environment, but are also helping to drive its innovation and growth.

Though Tarkett’s environmental efforts took root as early as the 1950s, one of its most significant moves came in 2010 when it committed to following Cradle to Cradle principles for the purpose of better understanding the chemistry of its products and the impact of chemicals on people and the planet. To date, 95% of its materials — more than 2,700 ingredients — have been profiled for hazards and exposure against 24 human and environmental endpoints by a third party, with a commitment of 100% by 2020.

The first Tarkett product in Europe to achieve Cradle to Cradle Certified™ was Iconic linoleum, which earned Cradle to Cradle Gold. Today, 31 products across Tarkett carry certification, including, most recently, iQ One (Gold) and Evolay thermoplastic floorings (Bronze). Most of its wood flooring products and Desso carpets (acquired in 2014) carry Cradle to Cradle certification.

“Cradle to Cradle principles at the top management level definitely changed our perception of environmental and health impact, as well as resource scarcity issues,” says Myriam Tryjefaczka, director of sustainability and public affairs for Tarkett EMEA. “C2C certification provides transparent information on product safety to customers and end users. It goes beyond environmental declarations and regulated communication toward customers.”

Today, Cradle to Cradle Certified concepts, from understanding material makeup to designing for circularity, play a central role in all of Tarkett’s product development. “As soon as we started to implement the C2C framework for eco-design and assessment, we established the material optimization program for all products to improve their environmental and health performance,” Tryjefaczka says. “Today it is part of our continuous improvement process and strategic shift toward circular economy.”

Tryjefaczka says material assessment is now integrated into the new product development process, and the company looks for optimization opportunities, including switching to new or improved raw materials and the use of recycled materials. From the beginning of the product design cycle up to the recycling capability at the end-of-use stage, Tarkett eco-designs products and processes for recycling, and explores new business models for circularity.

“This has required a closer relationship and even solution co-design with our main suppliers,” she says, noting that Tarkett continues to push for improvements to products that today may seem out of the scope for Cradle to Cradle certification.

Tarkett’s efforts are not only driven from the top down, but are embraced across departments—and countries. It also was a factor in the Desso acquisition, which shares the same appetite for creating a positive impact and simply doing good. Both companies had a common understanding on the right way to do it.

“The sustainability agenda cannot stand alone,” Tryjefaczka advises. “To succeed as a cultural change, it needs to become everyone’s concern, duty, and performance goal. Cradle to Cradle Certified is more than a tool for product process design. It became a source of inspiration.”

Search for Tarkett’s and Desso’s Cradle to Cradle Certified products here.