LAGRANGE, GA – InterfaceFLOR, LLC (www.interfaceflor.com), one of the world’s leading manufacturers of modular carpet, was recently confirmed as the first North American carpet manufacturer to receive a third-party verified Environmental Product Declaration (EPD®). While others in the industry have begun this certification process, InterfaceFLOR is the first to receive third-party review and verification, and thus achieve the EPD.
What sets an EPD apart from other green product claims and labels is its fundamentally different approach that provides a much higher level of detail and product information. It is not just another green claim or label where details of the claim are not verified or are never made public. An EPD requires an unprecedented level of analysis, transparency and disclosure of information that has previously remained confidential.
EPDs address consistent factors based on full Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) that InterfaceFLOR has used in its own product measurement, such as progress on reducing dependence on virgin raw materials, reducing fossil fuel dependence and using renewable energy, and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
An EPD is the next step in the disclosure of consistent and verifiable product characteristics and represents a significant move forward for the carpet industry. A manufacturer can no longer claim a product is “green” when its overall footprint is anything but. Claims and notable accomplishments can now be seen, communicated, and compared by customers through EPDs. InterfaceFLOR continues its industry leadership position on environmental sustainability through this achievement.
“A new line has been drawn in the sand,” notes John Wells, president of Interface Americas Inc. “Those who do not step up, or who cannot meet this new milestone, stand to be left behind.”
InterfaceFLOR has long measured the impacts of its products and has made decisions based on LCA. Communicating those results to customers, however, is complex, and made more so by overall inconsistencies in measurement and reporting within the industry. An EPD allows a better and more consistent means to translate these characteristics to customers.
“The rigor and transparency required of an EPD goes well beyond many of the claims being made right now. As consumers have become more aware of a product’s green attributes and demanded greater transparency, we decided it was necessary to declare and disclose where we stand, for ourselves and as a challenge to the industry at large,” adds Wells. “We have always been transparent in our processes and reporting; I say it’s about time the industry as a whole stepped up to that same level of rigor.”
Publishing an EPD is not attainable without history, leadership and a longstanding commitment to continuous, and verifiable, measurement and improvement. The steps to attaining a third-party verified EPD require substantial commitment from companies and diligence in measuring and reporting impacts. A products’ LCA and impacts, from raw materials through end-of-use, must be validated by a third party according to the ISO 14040 standard for full objectivity and transparency, calculating through inventory analysis the environmental impacts of the product. In addition to full disclosure of environmental impacts, the EPD provides detailed composition and performance characteristics as specified by defined product category rules. Both the LCA and the resulting EPD require rigorous third-party verification before publication.
“We were eager to create and have verified an EPD to raise the bar, move our industry and provide the model and foundation for our competitors to follow. Ultimately this will allow our customers to make apples-to-apples comparisons of carpet products. Now our competitors need to get on board and do their own EPDs,” says David Hobbs, president of InterfaceFLOR.
InterfaceFLOR chose to base its EPD on the Convert™ group of products because they represent the company’s next generation of products and its continued commitment to innovation and sustainability. Convert products communicate the importance of a life-cycle approach to environmental claims and to working toward entirely closed-loop manufacturing processes. Using Convert as the platform for attaining EPD not only verifies InterfaceFLOR’s leadership position, it also makes that position fully open to public scrutiny. Convert styles offer never before seen levels of post-consumer content and illustrate InterfaceFLOR’s commitment to reducing virgin raw materials and taking responsibility for products at the end of their use.
“It’s important to note that Convert is not just a ‘green line’ within our product offerings. These products represent new thinking and significant, verifiable, breakthroughs for our industry,” adds Hobbs. “While we chose this product platform as the basis for our EPD, we will put any single product or process up against anyone in our industry who would choose to challenge our claims.”
InterfaceFLOR, LLC is a subsidiary of Interface Inc., one of the world’s largest manufacturers of commercial modular carpet. For 33 years, the company has consistently led the industry through innovation and now leads the industry in environmental sustainability. InterfaceFLOR is setting the pace for development of modular carpet using materials and processes that take less from the environment, and is well along the path to “Mission Zero™,” the company’s promise to eliminate any negative impact it has on the environment by the year 2020. Interface's worldwide carpet manufacturing facilities maintain third-party registration to the ISO 14001 Environmental Management System, and the company is globally recognized for its commitment to build environmental considerations into its business decisions. For more information, go to www.interfaceflor.com.