Gradus Environmental Profiles case studyName of client: Gradus
Product: Broadloom carpet, impervious carpet and carpet tiles
Timeframe: August 2007 - June 2009
Client challenge - why Gradus decided to have Environmental Profile Certification
We have supplied floorcoverings for education, healthcare, retail and commercial buildings for over 20 years. The company prides itself on delivering peace of mind for customers by supplying products that satisfy the very latest product standards.
For many years, we have carefully monitored the environmental impact of our products and have implemented a range of measures to improve their environmental performance. With Green Guide ratings becoming a prerequisite for many government-funded projects, including new build schools, we decided to apply for
Environmental Profile Certification for 14 of our carpet ranges. This would provide independent verification of the work we have already undertaken to enhance the environmental credentials of our products.
Synopsis of process from Gradus's view
After applying to BRE Global for certification, we supplied a bank of data for an agreed 12 month period covering input and output materials, ranging from transport mileage and utilities usage to recycling volumes and pollution levels. The data was audited by BRE Global Profile Officers, who reviewed the method of data collection as well as the production processes, on a special verification visit. Over the following months, BRE Global undertook lifecycle analysis modelling to develop environmental profiles for each product range.
The process involved people from across the business, so investment and commitment is certainly required company-wide. However, we had already been reviewing the environmental aspects of our manufacturing operation, so the basic data was in place. Our main task was to collate and supply the data in the format required by BRE Global.
The BRE Global approach (Environmental Profile methodology)
The Environmental Profiles Methodology assesses environmental indicators that reflect impacts occurring globally, regionally and locally; in the air, the water and the land; causing damage to humans and to the environment as well as resource depletion. These impacts are placed into weighted issue categories and a measure of environmental impact is attributed to each issue.
We had already made some significant energy and carbon savings, as a result of the measures we have implemented to improve our production operation. This groundwork accelerated the BRE Global certification process and we have now achieved even greater savings. In the future, when we upgrade the Gradus product portfolio, we will have a clearer idea of what we need from our raw material and energy suppliers, which will make it easier to deliver further improvements. For example, we will be looking for yarn suppliers that have achieved the same environmental standards that we have, whether that may be ISO14001 or achieving ambitious recycling targets. This will encourage environmental best practice to filter down through the supply chain.
The Green Guide ratings have also allowed us to build on our already strong platform in the public sector, particularly in the education and healthcare markets. Architects and specifiers working in these sectors are increasingly using high Green Guide ratings as product selection criteria, as they equate to more points and better BREEAM ratings for new buildings. Architects (and their clients) regard Green Guide ratings as a merit badge for products that provides confidence and peace of mind that they have undergone rigorous testing and assessment. Clients ranging from private healthcare providers to new-build school contractors have already expressed interest in our carpet ranges, because of their high Green Guide ratings.
We are confident that by offering BRE Global certificated products, we will be able to grow our PFI business for example, as well as secure contracts via high profile construction programmes, such as Building Schools for the Future.
Certificated products have undoubtedly provided us with a competitive advantage, especially as we have achieved A+ and A ratings across a wide range of our broadloom, impervious and carpet tiles. This allows us to supply a floorcovering solution with proven environmental credentials for a huge variety of building applications.
Having worked successfully with BRE Global to achieve Green Guide ratings for our carpet ranges, we are now considering certificating our products to Responsible Sourcing of Construction Products BES 6001, as we expect this to become part of green procurement in the future.