EGE CARPETS: CREATING A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE, ONE FLOOR AT A TIME
Good environmental practices have been part of the EGE Carpets story since the company opened its doors in 1938. Over the years, sustainability has become part of every aspect of the company’s operations, with particular focus on becoming carbon positive by producing sustainable carpets in closed loops, turning waste into resources in the process. For the past decade, EGE has used the Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Product Standard as a framework for the company’s journey towards a sustainable future, culminating in a 2020 commitment to achieve Cradle to Cradle Certified Platinum for all EGE carpets by 2030. Here, Jan Magdal Poulsen, EGE Carpets group marketing director, shares the company’s vision with us.
Why did EGE Carpets choose Cradle to Cradle Certified? We think the Cradle to Cradle concept of working to do good instead of working to do less harm is brilliant. Cradle to Cradle Certified represents what it takes to get to a sustainable future. It’s not just another product certification: it covers the entire spectrum, including the product itself, the associated production processes, and the whole company from a holistic and social point of view. In other words, Cradle to Cradle Certified is the ultimate label a product can get - and we want it on all our carpets.
How has Cradle to Cradle Certified influenced the EGE Carpets business model? Adopting the Cradle to Cradle Certified Product Standard has been transformative for the EGE Carpets business. When we decided that we want all our carpets to be certified at the Platinum level by 2030, we also gave ourselves the biggest challenge ever. Our carpets are already quite sustainable: many of them use 100% regenerated yarns and 100% recycled backings, but that doesn’t mean they meet the Cradle to Cradle Certified Platinum requirements. Now, we must assess everything we do, from the sourcing of raw materials and the use of regenerated and recycled materials, to the way we manufacture the carpets, how we work with our local community, and what kinds of social projects we support. It’s also likely that we will need to change the way we design our carpets as we will also need to make smart substitutions that do not compromise product quality or durability. It’s a tremendous commitment, but it’s the right thing to do. Achieving Cradle to Cradle Certified Platinum for all our carpets will be our finest contribution to a sustainable future.
Beyond Cradle to Cradle Certified Platinum for all EGE carpets, what are the company’s other sustainability goals? Our ultimate goal is to use Cradle to Cradle Certified to create carpets in closed loops by turning waste into resources while becoming net carbon positive -- all by 2030. To get there, we are focusing on the following:
- Turning waste into resources. On average, 75% of all raw materials in our carpets must be recycled. We are also aiming to be able to reuse, recycle or compost all our waste.
- Closed loops. The biggest issue in the carpet industry is carpet waste, most of which is currently landfilled or incinerated. We are pushing the market to establish facilities that can handle carpet waste and transform it into resources. Meanwhile, we are also working on a new carpet structure designed for separation and recycling after use.
- Net carbon positive. We are working to become CO2 positive. We are already covering our entire electricity consumption through investments in renewable energy and are currently working to do the same with bio-natural gas. Furthermore, we want to invest in renewable technology that, in the future, will make us a positive producer of green energy. And, we are aiming at CO2-neutral transport from EGE to our customers.
How is Cradle to Cradle Certified also helping EGE Carpets meet building industry sustainability standards? Cradle to Cradle Certified is already widely recognized by customers in the building sector, especially the flooring industry. Because a large proportion of our customers are large, mulit-national brands for whom sustainability is important, our green stories are their green stories. Having Cradle to Cradle certification helps open the door, especially when we (as a supplier) are being asked to document more and more about the sustainability of our product, from impact on indoor air quality to material health and product circularity. For some customers, it’s enough to know the product is certified, while for others, certification enables us to deliver the detailed information a customer requires about a product’s environmental and social performance.
Has certification powered any new supplier partnerships or collaborations? Working towards Cradle to Cradle certification has pushed us in a positive way to look for suppliers with the same mindset as ours, and this has created opportunity for new and exciting supplier relationships. For instance, we are continuously on the lookout for more sustainable substitutions for different substances in our carpets, and whenever we learn that something can be improved, we ask our suppliers to implement that in their solution. It may not always happen immediately, but we are working in the right direction.
What are some lessons learned from the EGE Carpets Cradle to Cradle journey so far? Cradle to Cradle Certified has taught us that if we aim higher, we will go further. We have also learned that it is possible to change how the world looks, how people behave, and how products are manufactured. It is difficult, and we are not there yet, but we do believe that it is possible.