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Case Study of Corporate Environmental Impact Program by Forbo

Forbo implementation timeline of environmental program to enhance Life Cycle Assessment impact

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Forbo is a floor covering manufacturer who undertook one of the first Life Cycle Assessment programs of their product, Mamoleum. Following is a summary list of steps taken by Forbo based on their initial publishing of their LCA in 2000.

  • 1997-2006 - Improved production facility Energy Efficiency Index (EEI) by 15.1%. The EEI expresses the amount of electricity and gas per unit of product produced.

  • 2000-2006 - Reduced facility water use by nearly 5% overall

  • 2000-2006 - Reduced solid waste by 50% while increasing production over the same time frame. 25% of solid waste was diverted from landfill by recycling in 2006.

  • 2001 - Product innovation replaced a portion of linseed oil with a post-industrial waste to improve eutrophication impact by 40%

  • 2002-2006 - Facility emission reductions of CO2 by 22%, ox emission down 65%. Overall VOC emissions down 46%. During this time production volumes increased substantially.

  • 2003 - Replaced indoor electric lighting methods of sample production curing to greenhouses that use natural sunlight, resulting in faster turn around time and a 27% savings in energy consumption at the facility.

  • 2005 - Announces and funds a "take back" program that allows the design community and others to return any sampling by the manufacturer free of charge. The company arranges for sampling shipped back or picked up by local employees. The sampling to be reconditioned and reused or recycled in composting. Program includes loose samples, folders, strap sets and box sets.

  • 2005 - Installed individual KWh meters on all equipment and systems that give more clarity about how much energy each department, machine or process consumes, as a means to determine further energy reduction opportunities.

  • 2006 - Introduced and committed to the Forbo Way to Win (FWW) principles to lead the company in a consistent, positive manner.

  • 2007 - Launches Marmoleum Scrap Composting Pilot Program with Ace Waste to collect jobsite scraps in Mid Atlantic regin along with roll ends and trimmings from distribution. Have diverted 20 tons per month of solid waste and reduced solid waste from the distribution facility by 85%. It is anticipated to expand the program to North America, partnering with additional environmentally committed waste composting and recycling companies.

  • 2007 - Converts its main factory facility site to 100% renewable green energy.

  • 2007 - Capital investment prepars to replace all Freon-containing cooling systems, scheduled to come on line early 2008.

  • 2007 - Marmoleum product receives MTS Smart Consensus Susainable Product Standards certification under the Sustainable Building Product Standard

  • 2007 - Company donates a portion of global sales of specific Marmoleum products to the World Wildlife Federation (WWF).
Forbo's history of environmental commitment provides a parallel list that made the environmental impact possible:
  • 1990 - Started employing health, safety and environment specialists
  • 1992 - ISO 9001 Certification
  • 1993 - First LCA Study completed
  • 1995 - Second LCA Study completed
  • 1997 - ISO 14001 Certification
  • 1998 - Government Granted Self-regulating Company
  • 2000 - Third LCA Study Completed
  • 2001 - Received the Austrian Eco Label UZ42
  • 2004 - German Nature Plus certificate granted
  • 2004 - Australian Environmental Choice label received
  • 2005 - New Zealand Environmental Choice label
  • 2007 - Received SMART label

Please check Forbo's website for updates on local initiatives.

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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