Tarkett North America Hosted Dr. Michael Braungart for a seminar on ‘Sustainability and Cradle-to-Cradle’ at NeoCon 2014
CHAGRIN FALLS, Ohio (July 29, 2014) – Tarkett, a global leader in innovative and sustainable flooring and sports surface solutions, recently hosted Dr. Michael Braungart, scientific director and founder of the Environmental Protection & Encouragement Agency (EPEA) and co-founder of Cradle to Cradle® (C2C®) design framework, for a seminar during the NeoCon Design Expo and Conference in Chicago.
The conference, which was attended by several leading architecture and design professionals, provided a platform for Dr. Braungart to explain the C2C philosophy supporting the circular economy, as well as the importance of transparency in sharing product information, referencing sustainable practices of industry leaders like Tarkett.
Dr. Braungart believes strongly in a process of “striving to be more good and not less bad.” “Cradle to Cradle is about inspiration, celebration of the human footprint,” he said. “It’s not minimizing negative impact, nor optimizing existing bad practices. This is a step-by-step journey, which needs solidarity, transparency and commitment from all stakeholders – manufacturers, suppliers, consumers – as well as creativity and innovation to design high-quality and eco-effective products.”
Dr. Braungart demonstrated how the C2C approach could be an “innovation engine” for manufacturers rethinking the choice of raw material that are safe and good for people and the environment, and for architects, designers or specifiers to select sustainable solutions, thus positively contributing to improved indoor air quality, people’s well being and the environment.
He also addressed the challenge of managing the use of PVC in product manufacturing, as well as the whole PVC industry and its co-products. Referring to Tarkett’s sustainable commitment to apply C2C principles, he explained how the PVC might be a “tolerable material used for durable goods such as pipe, window frame and flooring, when designed with safe materials and with a manageable post-use recycling chain in place”. He explained why he believes that “this option from a Cradle to Cradle point of view could offer a sustainable solution to the PVC industry’s challenges for a transition period of time, until a more eco-effective and sustainable alternative can be widely available on the market”.
Tarkett is addressing the various PVC challenges and has exemplified the C2C approach by eco-designing vinyl flooring with extremely low VOC emissions and phthalate-free plasticizers, optimizing resources during the production (raw materials, energy, water), and implementing its ReStart™ reclamation and recycling program.
Since 2011, Tarkett has widely applied the C2C principles and has set its Environmental 2020 roadmap. Together with the EPEA support, Tarkett is focused on designing, developing and manufacturing products that contribute to people’s well being and quality of life, and that can be recycled into a technical cycle (to manufacture new products) or biological cycle (biodegradable / compostable ingredients back to nature).
In late 2013, starting in North America, the company introduced its Environmental Health Statements (EHS) transparency tool in alignment with the C2C transparency value. Developed in conjunction with the EPEA, an EHS is a third-party reviewed declaration of content and material assessment for building products. Material assessment and review of content in the Tarkett EHS is performed by the EPEA. The EHS is designed to thoroughly address ingredient disclosure, possible health and environmental impacts, and post-use considerations. Using a rating system, the EHS discloses whether or not an ingredient may pose a potential risk to manufacturing workers or users of the product or the environment. This EHS rating system is based on the precautionary principle, is easy to understand and consistent with the C2C material assessment.
Based on Tarkett’s intelligent, aesthetic and eco-effective design, the EPEA team supports the Group in their optimization and development of products within the C2C framework. Thanks to its ‘closed loop circular design’ covering each step of a product’s life, Tarkett is making strides internally as well as encouraging others in the industry to do the same.
“Sharing the knowledge and unparalleled experience of Dr. Braungart with architects and designers is an important part of our efforts to encourage the use of sustainable materials in the design process and improve performance standards throughout the industry,” said Diane Martel, Vice President of Environmental Planning and Strategy for Tarkett North America.
Highlights of the presentation can be seen on YouTube.
Tarkett is represented commercially in North America by the Johnsonite and Tandus Centiva brands. For more information about Tarkett’s sustainable initiatives worldwide, visit www.tarkett.com. To learn more about the company’s North American commercial and residential line of flooring products, visit www.tarkettna.com and www.tandus-centiva.com.
 Cradle to Cradle® is a registered trademark of McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry, LLC.
 Tarkett products present level of Total Volatile Organic Compounds 10 to 100 times below the strictest standard in the world (below 10 to 100 µg/m3)