NEW GREEN STANDARDS NEEDED

IS  MY  NEW  FLOORING  REALLY GREEN?    

One study announced this week stated that “99% of the green claims by manufacturers were proven to be incorrect or misleading”.  To support this statement the trade journal Floor Covering Weekly (January 2008) wrote that “an environmental marketing group (TerraChoice) surveyed six big-box retailers, including a prominent home improvement giant, to review any green products.  Out of 1,018 consumer goods bearing 1,753 environmental claims only ONE met the standards of accurate green marketing – a paper product that was certified by a third party”.

I don’t think that anyone really believes that these claims were intentionally made by manufacturers nor do I believe that the big box retailers intentionally misrepresented the green advantages of certain products. As the article states “ in some cases a company’s engineers figured out a lot of wonderful environmental advantages but the marketing department hasn’t found an accurate way of explain that”.  But if flooring manufactures and resellers are prepared to make green statements it is vital they make a determined effort to present the consumer with easy to understand and accurate information and wherever possible base those claims on an independent third party certification.

One such independent certification body for hard surface flooring products is the Forest Fellowship Council (FSC). Established in 1992 the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an international recognized certification and labeling organization that guarantees that the forest products you purchase come from responsibly managed forests and verified recycled sources.

Under FSC certification, forests are certified against a set of strict environmental and social standards, and fiber from certified forests is tracked all the way to the consumer through the chain of custody certification system. The end result is products in the marketplace carrying the FSC ‘check-tree’ logo.

FSC certification is a voluntary and market-based mechanism for ensuring that our forests are healthy. Consumer demand for FSC-certified products encourages forest managers and owners to become FSC-certified. Independent third-party auditors conduct all FSC certification audits.

Until recently there have very few flooring products that have been FSC certified. However with the increasing demand for green flooring products we are starting to see more and more FSC certified product entering the mainstream flooring market.  A quick internet search for FSC laminate flooring only revealed two companies ( www.venconusa.com and www.kronoswiss.com) that offer quick ship laminate flooring product to consumers in the US.  Both are offering laminate flooring products manufactured in Europe.

We all want green products in our home but “What is the cost?”. You may be interested to know during a conversation I had earlier this week with a prominent European cork manufacturer he stated the cost difference between FSC certified cork flooring (HDF core only) and one not certified was 2 cents per square foot or less 1% of the selling price. He further went on to say “the reason for not offering FSC product was the lack of consumer demand.  Mmmm!

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