Sustainable flooring has become a rising trend in 2020, so how do you find these environmentally and socially preferable products? And what can you do to show that your flooring is a cut above the rest?
Every day, we walk upon different types of floors, wherever we live, work and play. Not only is it important that suitable flooring is selected for its intended use, but it is becoming more important to Australians to understand the impact those floors have on the environment, our health, and the people making them.
Flooring, like any other product, requires a process of design, manufacturing, testing, distribution and end of life. To be truly sustainable, it’s important to look at the impacts along this entire product lifecycle. How were the raw materials sourced? What chemical treatments and dyes were used? How much energy was required during manufacturing? Who made the product, and did they have safe working conditions? Does the flooring emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs)? Where does it end up? Unfortunately, the answers to these questions might not always be positive, and the flooring product you purchased may incidentally contribute to illegal harvesting, climate change, modern slavery, health issues like respiratory conditions, waste and pollution, for example.
To reduce these risks, we need to purchase sustainably
Sustainable flooring occurs when the whole product lifecycle ensures minimum environmental impacts, considers human health, is ethically made and is fit-for-purpose.
Differentiating sustainable flooring products from unsustainable options can be time consuming. This is where certifications, such as GECA’s ecolabel, play a crucial role.
GECA certification removes doubt and confusion and makes identifying environmentally and socially preferable products easier for consumers. GECA have developed rigorous standards, following ISO 14024 principles and ISEAL frameworks for global best practice in ecolabelling, which are then independently assessed by their Assurance Providers.
GECA’s database of certified products and services includes an array of flooring to choose from, with products certified under their Floor Coverings, Hard Surfacing and Carpet standards.
Further, these standards and many more, contribute towards green building programs, such as Green Star (Level A), WELL and ISCA.
So now that we know how to purchase sustainable flooring, what if you are a flooring business and want to show your commitment to sustainability by being GECA certified?
At GECA, the certification process consists of five key steps.
First, you will need to submit an application form, receiving in return a no obligation free quote from a third-party Assurance Provider, For Future Generations (FFG) and Bureau Veritas.
Secondly, you will need to decide which quote and company you would like to go ahead with to conduct the assessment process, which will involve an onsite audit. The third stage is when a conformance assessment is conducted, and a verification report is produced as a result. When you have completed your assessment, you will then be awarded a GECA licence certificate and the rights to use GECA’s ecolabel mark on your certified product to win over consumers looking for a sustainable choice.
Need more convincing to have your floors GECA certified? Forbo Flooring System’s main linoleum brand, Marmoleum, is an excellent example of the success of sustainable flooring.
“Our Marmoleum range has had GECA certification since 2007 and with GECA’s recognition in the Green Building Council of Australia’s Green Star program, Marmoleum has always been a popular choice for sustainable projects”, explains David Blakemore, Marketing Manager of Forbo Flooring Systems.
“The good news is sustainability these days has spread beyond commercial buildings into many homes looking for sustainable and healthy products.”
The GECA certified Marmoleum line is a truly natural floor made from 97% natural raw materials, 72% rapidly renewable and 43% recycled content. Marmoleum now features a double UV cured finish that takes care of floors with a lasting appearance retention which guarantees low maintenance cost over its lifetime. It is available in over 300 colours and more than 12 different structures available in sheet and modular tile formats. For instance, Marmoleum Acoustic, Marbled, and Decibel offer a stone look, while Marmoleum Linear, Modular and Modular Textura provide customers with a wood-look. On top of that, it is also certified as carbon neutral from cradle to gate by UL Environment (EPD based on life cycle assessment).
You can find these products from Forbo Flooring Systems and many more from GECA licensees Regupol, Cloudwalk,
Kebony, Spectrum Floors, Modulyss, Shaw Contract Group, RC&D and Melocco Stone at www.geca.eco
GECA is an independent not for profit that assists in cutting through the greenwash by certifying leading sustainable products and services. GECA is recognised as a mark of trust. The GECA scheme was the first of its kind in Australia and has more Australian certified products than any other scheme. GECA empower architects, builders, suppliers, designers, procurers, and consumers to have confidence in their purchasing decisions and trust certified products to be healthier, safer, and better for the environment. GECA offer a range of services to assist an organisation on its sustainability journey. Working with their clients to achieve a shared vision of a sustainable future for people and the planet.