It’s no secret that consumers are demanding products that are safer and healthier for themselves and their families. But many brands are capitalizing on this by making health claims that are scientifically unfounded. What separates the companies that are delivering on their brand promise from the ones that are not, and how can companies tighten their messaging to cut across the noise?
Here, Allergy Standards’ Digital Marketing Manager, Léa Daulan, interviews leaders, brand managers, and marketers who are part of a global movement towards healthier products that are rooted in rigorous science. In this interview, meet Dhruv Raina, Tarkett‘s Director of Sustainability, a multinational corporation specialising in the production of floor and wall coverings.
Léa: A few years ago, Tarkett won the Sustainable Innovation Award in the 6th Edition of the Innovation Management Awards. Tell me more about Tarkett’s engagement in sustainability.
Dhruv: Tarkett’s 2020 Vision is essentially our near-term road map for being a leading business, one which is global in scope & scale. It is segmented into three key areas – designing for life, closing the loop and driving collaboration – and is designed to engage our teams and partners to work together to grow our collective positive impact.
In terms of materials, we want to both choose responsible materials and increase the share of renewable and recyclable materials in our supply chain. Under resource stewardship, we aim to reduce the amount of fresh and potable water we use, and to decrease energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. When we help customers develop people-friendly spaces, we want to ensure indoor air quality, health, and well-being with phthalate-free design solutions as well as products having low and/or non-detectable Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) emissions. And we intend to reuse whenever possible by ensuring that all manufacturing waste that leaves our facilities enters a biological or technical cycle. Take-back programs for flooring solutions also allow us to truly close the loop on usage.
Critical metrics have been established in each area, with goals to achieve by 2020. Progress is measured monthly and reported annually to our stakeholders. We’ve purposefully set the bar high, but we’re performing well, and by our aligning efforts throughout our locations across the globe, we hope to make a measurable impact.
Léa: Tarkett has reinforced its engagement by developing a new marketing programs dedicated to Tarkett’s healthier and more sustainable flooring such as the Laminate Flooring and the Vinyl Sheet Flooring. How does third party Certifications such as the asthma & allergy friendly® Certification fit in Tarkett’s commitment to being a more sustainable and healthier choice?
Dhruv: As a global company, Tarkett has spent decades refining its material selections and manufacturing practices in favor of human and planet health, in some cases developing new ingredients from scratch in order to meet our own expectations. We have a single minded dedication to putting people first, before we even say circular it has to be safe. With sales in more than 100 countries worldwide, we need organizations that provide us with a framework of science based principles that could be verified no matter where we live. This union of science and sustainability of humans is of high value to Tarkett. One of our goals for 2020 is to have 100% of our products at or below 100 ppm of VOC emissions. A lot of them in our portfolio today are at non-detect levels. The asthma & allergy friendly® Certification Program takes this very simple concept of safe and codifies it to build trust for our customers in our brand.
Léa: Tarkett is also working with other independent testing and certification bodies such as SCS Global Services. How does Tarkett evaluate which organizations, partnerships and opportunities to align with in order to convey specific messaging about your products’ features and benefits?
Dhruv: We look very closely to see if the organization broadens our perspective. Tarkett seeks science-based strategies and wants to align with organizations that have the technical rigor and marketing acumen. We also look for partners that help us raise the bar on everything we do and in return we help them grow as well. We also look for organizations with the marketing acumen to help educate customers on the meaning and importance of each certification. As a global company Tarkett continues on this journey with SCS Global Services and several other international partners like C2CPII, EPEA, International Living Future Institute, Ellen McArthur Foundation and the World Economic Forum. It is all about whether the organization strengthens your significance to sustain your success.
Tarkett seeks science based strategies and wants to align with organizations that have the technical rigor and marketing acumen.
Léa: From Tarkett’s perspective as an innovator in the green building product industry, what trends do you see emerging, who is driving them, and how does the company keep a step ahead?
Dhruv: Our operating environment has radically shifted, sustainability goals are longer term but how can we stay nimble. Customer expectations of all manufacturers, including Tarkett, are rising, and their purchasing decisions are increasingly being motivated by concerns like whether a business has committed to sustainable practices or taken a stand on an issue that matters to them. Our customers asked for transparency and we looked ahead of what was possible, our Material Health Statements (MHS) are unparalleled in the industry, in terms of the information they provide to the customer. Similarly, now that the customer is aware, they seek products that enhance their quality of life or technically speaking products that are optimized. Again, Tarkett through its commitment to C2C has been on that continuous improvement journey for many years and as a result not only radically optimized its current product portfolio but with introduction of C2C Gold Certified ID Revolution is redefining disruption. A product designed with material health, eliminating virgin raw materials use and enabling circular business model is now possible. We have built foundational elements into our strategy in terms of issues that could pose risk for a business of our size. There also was an opportunity for us to better use sustainability to drive competitive advantage by doing things in a way that leverages Tarkett’s unique assets and diverse product portfolio. And most of all, we could also see untapped business opportunity; we look at businesses driving significant revenue via their sustainability strategies and aim to maximize our ability to capture this opportunity for Tarkett.
Customer expectations of all manufacturers, including Tarkett, are rising, and their purchasing decisions are increasingly being motivated by concerns like whether a business has committed to sustainable practices or taken a stand on an issue that matters to them.
Léa: What are the next steps and objectives for Tarkett in 2019?
We have learned a great deal in our journey to 2020. What we are working on now marks a pivot in the role that sustainability plays in Tarkett’s business. It is evolving from primarily sustainability as “doing good” to linking business and societal value; from a singular issue to driving multi-faceted positive impact; from being stand-alone to being woven into all we do, holistically. It will ensure that sustainability is truly delivering on Tarkett’s purpose and is poised to ensure we have a thriving business now and into the future.
Léa: Thank you.
For over a century, Tarkett has nurtured and grown into a clear industry leader with a passionate focus on simple, confident customer experiences. With size, resources and award-winning products for all market segments, Tarkett has a distinct understanding of your interior finish needs – for the home or for commercial use – so you can feel confident you’ve made the right choice with Tarkett.
About Allergy Standards
Allergy Standards Limited (ASL) mantra is design thinking and an innovation for healthier indoor air for the allergy aware consumer. As an independent, international certification company, it creates meaningful scientific standards for testing a wide range of products and services to determine their impact on improving indoor air quality. ASL’s intellectual property portfolio includes unique testing protocols and suitability specifications for products to be CERTIFIED asthma & allergy friendly® . ASL’s mission is to improves lives by empowering people create the healthiest possible indoor environment through science, education and innovation.
Tarkett, flooring, sustainability, health, allergen, allergy, asthma, asthma & allergy friendly, healthier home, certified, indoor air quality, indoor environment
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