We aim to contribute to a more sustainable world by continually improving our management of environmental, social and economic challenges. We have the most advanced technology in the industry and are therefore able to meet the demands of the international standards Cradle to Cradle, EMAS (European Eco-Management and Audit Scheme) and, as the only carpet manufacturer world-wide: Danish Standards’ DS 49001 based on ISO 26000.
All Epoca, Highline, Rawline and ReForm products are Cradle to Cradle certified, placing us among the most Cradle to Cradle certified companies in the carpet industry. Cradle to Cradle is the vision of a world in which the consumption of resources not only has the smallest possible environmental footprint, but instead leaves a positive footprint.
Imagine a carpet made exclusively from recycled materials. After use, the carpet is broken down into smaller components, which are used to make new carpets. The energy for this production comes from offshore wind turbines, and the surplus heat from production is used to heat municipal buildings. This is the ultimate example of the Cradle to Cradle philosophy applied to carpets.
The aim is to manufacture products that consist exclusively of materials part of a healthy life cycle, with no harm on people and the environment. A product designed to be part of a biological or technical life cycle with no waste generated. The aim is also to achieve CO2 neutrality and 100% use of renewable energy. In principle, our process wastewater should be clean enough to be used as drinking water.
Year end 2015, the European Commission awarded us a National Pioneer Certificate for being one of the first companies in Denmark to register with EMAS 20 years ago: In 1996, we made Danish environmental history in the carpet industry by obtaining the elaborate EMAS registration. EMAS (Eco-Management and Audit Scheme) is a voluntary EU scheme developed for all types of companies to improve their environmental performance. The scheme is ambitious. It obliges the company to involve its employees in efforts to achieve new environmental improvements each year and to communicate its eco-friendly initiatives to the outside world.
DS 49001 is the Danish standard for CSR and is based on the international management standard ISO 26000. On the basis of social responsibility and sustainable business practices, the certification means that we meet a wide range of requirements involving good governance, human rights, working conditions, environmental conditions, business conduct, consumer affairs and local community development and involvement.
"Twenty years ago, focus was not really on human rights and working conditions – it was the environment that set the agenda. Now we know that businesses must address the wider issues, not only environmental initiatives. But EMAS was in many ways the first step towards the comprehensive CSR focus that we have at ege today."
Svend Aage Færch Nielsen, CEO at ege
Recover by ege is our take-back programme for the return and recycling of used carpets. The programme streamlines the use of materials so that we utilise them for as long as possible rather than transporting the carpets for incineration.
One part of the programme, ege Vintage, includes a system for the cleaning and resale of used carpet tiles through a webshop. The process is that, together with our partners, we gather carpet tiles, and then clean, sort and resell the best ones. The webshop has carpet tiles from flooring contractors who return them to us after removing them at a customer site.
When we recycle carpet tiles, their lifetime is extended and fewer resources are used to manufacture new ones. And carpet tiles that are not suitable for sale are sent on to other companies that can use them as fuel or make new products from them.
The recycling system for carpet tiles is the first step on the path to 100% utilisation of the materials in our products. In the fully implemented Recover by ege programme, components will be recycled into our own products: for example as filler in the backing. We expect to achieve this goal by year 2020.
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