The power of handprints over footprints is the focus of the 2018 Sustainability Report released online by Mohawk Industries. This year’s report illustrates how a growing commitment to sustainability by the world’s largest flooring company is shaping business decisions that positively impact the company, its customers, employees and communities. Through innovative product design and manufacturing—and a company-wide passion for making a difference—Mohawk is broadening the definition of corporate social responsibility to both “believe in better” and “believe in beautiful.”
“Mohawk is committed to investing in processes, products and, most importantly, people to do the right thing for our customers and communities,” said Jeff Lorberbaum, Mohawk’s chairman and CEO. “The philosophy of sustainability informs everything we do and is embedded deeply in our culture. We are a global leader in recycling and offer hundreds of products with repurposed content that also provide differentiated features with broad appeal.”
The 2018 Sustainability Report reinforces Mohawk’s continued progress in doing more with less and its intent on growing its global business while reducing its environmental footprint. Across Mohawk, the company is closing in on its 2020 goals, set in 2010, to decrease energy, GHG, water and waste-to-landfill intensity by 25%. In 2018 alone, the company recycled 6.6 billion plastic bottles into yarn fiber, 136 million pounds of foam trim and yarn waste into carpet cushion and almost 42 million pounds of rubber tires into welcome mats.
“As part of our commitment to reducing our environmental footprint,” Lorberbaum said, “we continuously decrease our consumption of natural resources and create our own energy from wind, solar and manufacturing waste.”
In a conversation with Mohawk leaders, the report notes that in 2018, Mohawk saved $4.3 million on landfill and haul-away costs as well as the costs of treating and discharging water to public sewer systems. To achieve this, it certified two new zero waste to landfill (ZLF) sites in Mexico and Alabama, bringing its total number of sites to 48 around the world. ZLF certification requires facilities to recycle or reuse 90% or more of their manufacturing process waste, which not only helps Mohawk build a resource-responsible culture site by site but also reduces the company’s capital and maintenance costs of equipment.
“As we continue to shrink our footprint while expanding our handprint, there is so much excitement around the Mohawk organization,” said George Bandy Jr., chief sustainability officer. “Sustainability is not only about believing in better for the communities where we live, work and play, but it is also about believing in beautiful products that are manufactured in a responsible manner. At every juncture, we place humankind at the center of the product development and design process for our residential and commercial solutions.”
These solutions, as highlighted in the report, help customers live sustainably in every area of the home and workplace. Sustainable choices for homeowners range from soft, stain-resistant SmartStrand, which is made with renewably sourced polymers that require less energy to manufacture than other fibers, to EverStrand, a fiber made with up to 100% recycled content, using Mohawk’s Continuum process to recycle plastic bottles into strong and beautiful yarns, to rugs and mats made of recycled rubber tires.
Commercial solutions include Mohawk’s Living Products. The International Living Future Institute’s Living Product Challenge is a broad certification program that requires manufacturers to consider the full life span of their products and challenges them to think beyond the products themselves and find ways to give back. In 2018, Mohawk expanded its portfolio with the debut of carbon-neutral Living Products Nutopia and Nutopia Matrix carpet plank, Sunweave broadloom and area rugs and Pivot Point, the first Red List-free enhanced resilient tile.
Sustainability does not happen in a vacuum; it is a community undertaking. The report explores how Mohawk worked in several capacities to reach out to the communities where its employees live, work and play as well as to partner with other organizations to further create a positive impact. Individually, Mohawk employees responded to communities in need with food drives and hurricane relief.
The 2018 Sustainability Report also features the importance of workplace diversity and developing talent in hometown communities. “Because our people are our greatest resource, we are dedicated to ensuring that they live healthier lives, work safely, develop professionally and plan for better futures,” said Lorberbaum.
Mohawk’s Apprenticeship Program is nationally recognized. Since its launch in 2014, the program has attracted more than 43 apprentices at 17 locations worldwide, with 80% of apprentices securing jobs with Mohawk full time after completing the program. The program builds up a base of talent, contributes to a trained workforce and increases local economic development. It not only advances the future of the company, but also advances the lives of people in the communities where Mohawk operates.
For more information, visit mohawksustainability.com.