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Connecting the Dots: How Tarkett Uses C2C Certified to Power Progress towards UN SDGs

Doing business in a way that benefits people and planet has always been Tarkett’s guiding philosophy -- one that is reflected in the company’s focus on supporting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and in its own goal of becoming a 100 percent circular economy business.

To get there, Tarkett is using its commitment to Cradle to Cradle certification as a framework for operationalizing company-wide efforts to support the seven SDGs it has identified as most material to the company’s operations, including: good health and well-being (SDG 3); decent work (SDG 8); sustainable cities and communities (SDG 11); responsible production and consumption (SDG 12); climate action (SDG 13); life on land (SDG 15), and global partnerships (SDG 17). 

“Our sustainability strategy is very holistic,” says Roxane Spears, Tarkett’s vice president of sustainability for North America. “We don’t limit our definition of sustainability to just one action: we recognize that to have a positive impact on the health of people and our planet, we need to focus on the health of all systems. At Tarkett, we look at how we can have a positive impact on ecosystem health, human health, climate health, social fairness and the circular economy. Initially, we adopted Cradle to Cradle Certified because it provided us with a holistic approach to evaluating, transforming and verifying our products with these impacts in mind.” 

“When we first began to certify our products & processes more than ten years ago, we saw the far-reaching value of Cradle to Cradle,” adds Product Stewardship Director Dhruv Raina. “The certification process helps us systematically assess, evaluate and optimize not only the product itself, but often the processes and/or facilities associated with that product.” 

“For example, as a result of certifying the 100 percent recyclable rubber flooring tiles manufactured at our Ohio facility, we began completely powering that facility with renewable energy, and we implemented a closed-loop water system that we have scaled for use across many of our facilities,” he explains. 

Similarly, the company’s Ethos carpet tile was designed from the ground up with Cradle to Cradle principles in mind. Made with backing material that would otherwise become landfill waste, the ethos® Modular with Omnicoat Technology™ tiles (both fiber and backing) are completely recyclable.

According to Roxane, applying the Cradle to Cradle certification framework across and deep into the value chain aligns perfectly with the company’s own circular economy business objective, as well as the UN SDGs it has targeted.

“If we’re going to achieve a 100% circular business model and achieve the UN SDGs along the way, we have to have a systematic process of connecting the dots between systems, processes, people and products,” Roxane says. “Cradle to Cradle Certified gives us a turnkey solution for doing just that.”

“By applying Cradle to Cradle principles across our company, and by undertaking the process of achieving certification for more and more of our products [more than fifty percent of Tarkett’s carpet and several innovations of its resilient flooring products are Cradle to Cradle Certified], we are able to unify seemingly disparate aspects of our operations, and drive very real social and environmental outcomes for our whole business.” 

Dhruv agrees. “From a circularity standpoint, the Cradle to Cradle Certified Product Standard gives us a continuous pathway to develop and optimize products that are resource responsible and safe as well as circular. From an SDG standpoint, we can also map the work we’re doing to optimize the circularity of our products and processes for Cradle to Cradle certification against the intended outcomes of the goals we are targeting.” 

“The work we are doing to scale product recycling, expand implementation of closed-loop water systems across our facilities, or increase our use of renewable energy are all activities driven by our commitment to Cradle to Cradle principles. They’re powering our progress towards goals like climate action (goal 13), life on land (goal 15 ) and sustainable cities and communities (goal 11) and, of course, circularity [responsible production and consumption, goal 12] -- which is, of course, our ultimate business objective, too.”