On May 29, Desso, a leading European carpet and sports surfaces company won the 2012 Guardian Sustainable Business Award for the Waste and Recycling category for its implementation of Cradle to Cradle® design in its business strategy. It was up against two other shortlisted companies BAM Nuttall and Coca-Cola Enterprises.
“This is a fantastic endorsement of all the hard work the people at Desso have undergone to transform our business,” says Stef Kranendijk, CEO of Desso.
“I am especially delighted because the Guardian Sustainable Business Awards recognise entries that have made a real impact and look for business models that can be replicated. We have found that the Cradle to Cradle® strategy boosts our profits and innovation but it also helps us deal with the most pressing environmental challenges we face as a society. And we hope it will be adopted by others, so that together we can achieve scale in going beyond sustainability.”
“We are moving away from the linear economy of ‘take, make and dispose’ towards the circular economy,” adds Kranendijk, “As estimated in a new report from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, this represents an economic opportunity of up to $630 billion per year in Europe or almost 4% of the EU’s annual GDP1).”
Since 2008, Desso has been embedding a Cradle to Cradle® strategy into its business model, whereby it designs products for disassembly and recycling. The aim of Cradle to Cradle® is to redesign the way we make things so that our products consist of positively defined2) materials which can be recycled on an infinite basis.
In 2010, Desso received a Cradle to Cradle® Silver certificate for an entire carpet tile product with its new carpet tile backing Desso EcoBase®. Due to its innovative composition, Desso EcoBase®’s polyolefin-based layer is fully recyclable in Desso’s own production process.
Carpet tiles with Desso EcoBase® backing have reached a level where up to 97% of the materials are positively defined3).
Desso has also developed a TakeBack™ programme to retrieve used carpets (as long as they don’t contain PVC) and recycle the materials. Desso’s goal is that by 2020 all its products will be designed according to Cradle to Cradle® principles and a large proportion of the energy consumed will be renewable.
Stef Kranendijk will be talking about the company’s sustainability strategy at the Green Corporate Energy Conference in London on June 27th where he will be interviewed by the environmentalist and author John Elkington4).
1) The report, Towards the Circular Economy: Economic and business rationale for an accelerated transition was launched in January 2012 by Dame Ellen MacArthur, the founder of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation at the WEF summit in Davos. Stef Kranendijk, CEO of Desso was one of the speakers at this launch event. A full version of the report is available at: http://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/
2) Positively defined = all ingredients have been assessed as either Green (optimal) or Yellow (tolerable) according to the Cradle to Cradle® assessment criteria.
3) See footnote 2