Climate change impact on resources
Alongside polymers, tufting cloths, glue and latex; one of the key materials in the production of our soft floor coverings is jute, used as the primary backing for our wall-to-wall woven carpets and woven rugs. This is a natural fibre which is sourced from Bangladesh or India putting it at risk from the effects of global warming and potentially affecting Balta through availability and price increases. For some years, we have been using partially recycled polymer-based weft yarns to minimise this risk. We will continue to investigate suitable alternatives that are less prone to the challenges of climate change.
Climate change impact on manufacturing and products
All of our production plants are above sea level, so there is currently little risk from rising sea levels through global warming. However, our production processes, particularly dyeing and printing, rely heavily on water and it has been identified by the World Resources Institute* that Belgium may face potential shortages in future years (2040). Since 2018’s high of 6.26l/m2 we have reduced our water demand for the production of soft floor coverings to an average of 5.81l/m2.
There is expectation that we will need to make further investments in water recycling, or process changes
with lower water consumption for our Belgium production sites. We are also working actively with the Flemish Government on optimising water consumption. Our Bentley manufacturing facility in the USA has also undertaken a study on water reduction. There are no water shortages expected in the USA or Turkey, but given our commitment to taking positive actions towards tackling the climate crisis, after successful implementation in Belgium, we will investigate the possibilities of implementing similar changes to effect positive water consumption reduction in Turkey also.
With the legally binding Paris Agreement (https://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/international/negotiations/paris_en) setting out to limit global warming to well below 2°C, we are likely facing external measures to offset our CO2 emissions in the form of a ‘carbon tax’. While our activities in Belgium are currently not impacted by CO2 taxes as the Belgium Government has granted emission credits, the situation will change in 2021 and we will need to gradually increase our expenditure on emission rights.
In case of an EU carbon tax and the potential abolition of the current carbon emission credit system, our European plants would be impacted by a carbon tax. The impact on our US and Turkish activities is not known yet.
The action plan to reduce CO2 emissions by 30% by 2030 (versus 2018) - and further reductions thereafter in the energy efficiency of our processes, a decrease in overall energy consumption by process technology and the increased usage of renewal energy - should ease the impact of such taxes.
Making products better for the planet
As a leading floor covering manufacturer, we know that customers are won and retained by delivering products that are innovative, sustainable and of high-performance. As part of our ambition to become more sustainable it is important that we reduce the impact of our products, whilst also ensuring they meet the needs of our customers by improved well-being through our products.
The primary goal of our product development is to work towards increasing recycled content and making products easier to recycle and thereby achieving a circular life cycle process. We are committed to finding solutions that help us to achieve this. We are now using increased amounts of recycled raw materials in pile yarns and backings and research is being conducted in end-of-life solutions. As an example of the progress we have made, 32% of the modulyss carpet tile collection for commercial use employs ECONYL® regenerated yarn as a face fibre. We also used recycled polypropylene or 100% recycled PET for the non-woven backing produced by Captiqs, with 37% of all non-woven felt produced featuring recycled content. At Bentley, carpet tiles feature an average 35% recycled content.
One of the major achievements in 2019 has been the introduction of a 100% recycled PET backing for modulyss carpet tiles, comfortBack. The backing doesn’t compromise long-term performance.
Balta Home has taken a significant step towards a circular life cycle product with the New Generation range of rugs. Made from a single polymer to ensure easy recycling, the collection is a major step as some qualities are also made from 100% recycled PET.
Significant investment in our yarn extrusion facility in Turkey was made so that PET from recycled plastic bottles could be made into a yarn suitable for use in New Generation rugs. This investment has also enabled the introduction of several new lines in the RE-generation product line for Balta home, set for launch in 2020.
As a responsible manufacturer, we also respond to the requirements and well-being of customers through environmental assessment and certification of our products:
- REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of Chemicals) compliant
- EN 14041 standard
- GUT/PRODIS (Gemeinschaft Umweltfreundlicher Teppichboden/Product Information System)
- Oekotex (Balta home) environmental certification
- C 2C (Bentley) environmental certification
- Environmental Performance Declarations for modulyss carpet tiles
- Good Environmental Choice of Australia for modulyss carpet tiles