InterfaceFLOR starts Middle East drive to cut ‘greenwashing’

United Arab Emirates: Wednesday, October 06 - 2010 @ 16:33

The campaign is in response to the growing practice of ‘greenwashing’, a term to describe what corporations and other organisations do when they try to make themselves look more environmentally friendly than they really are.

InterfaceFLOR, which is wholly committed to its Mission Zero vision aims to be the world’s first fully sustainable company by 2020, achieved a European first earlier this year with an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) for some of its range of carpet tiles.

Now it is urging businesses to achieve complete transparency by 2012 and for consumers to demand EPDs on all products – from carpet tiles to building materials, household goods to clothes – so that they can compare the environmental impact of different products over their life-cycle and make informed buying decisions.

“As the world’s environmental and social problems become more apparent and consumers source products which are as sustainable as possible, there is great pressure on companies to demonstrate that they are part of the solution rather than the problem,”

said Lindsey Parnell, President and CEO, InterfaceFLOR Europe, Middle East, Africa and India.

“Carpet may seem an unlikely test-bed for sustainability, but in fact the commercial carpet tile marketplace has become more aware of sustainability issues than most others. The whole building industry has finally woken up to environmental impacts and how to reduce them, and many architects and designers routinely try to select the most sustainable products and materials,” added Parnell.

Consumers are faced with a barrage of marketing buzz-words as businesses have woken up to sustainability. A guide, Just The Facts, which is available to download free of charge from the InterfaceFLOR website, explains how to assess the sustainability of different products and the companies which make them.

One of the features in the guide is a glossary of ‘greenwashing’ terms which outlines the differences between carbon neutral, fair-trade, organic and environmentally-friendly. And a 10-point ‘fluff test’ is a checklist of questions consumers should be asking suppliers when searching for the most sustainable products available.

InterfaceFLOR, which has been operating in the Middle East for more than 30 years and opened its regional headquarters in Dubai in 2009, became the pioneer of corporate sustainability in 1994 when its chairman Ray Anderson recognised that the way the industry worked was fundamentally unsustainable. Since then, sustainability has been placed at the core of the business and is embedded in the company’s culture.

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Wednesday, October 6- 2010 @ 16:33 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.

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