Believe in Better
2019 Sustainability Highlights
highlights of the year interactively. Roll over an image to see how we
We believe in a better world—one in which products at the end of one useful life can be transformed into sustainable flooring products; businesses operate with respect for the planet; and we leave a positive handprint on the people and communities that our businesses touch. It’s a world that Mohawk Industries is proud to help build every day through purposeful action. Here are some of the ways we’re doing so.
Smartflowers Continue to Bloom
The Living Product Challenge encourages manufacturers to create products that are nontoxic, socially responsible and have a net benefit on people and the environment. The challenge requires manufacturers to consider the full life span of their products, including how they are made, used and disposed. Certification is organized into seven performance areas, known as “Petals,” which include Place, Water, Energy, Health & Happiness, Materials, Equity and Beauty.
To earn Petal certification, Mohawk Group offsets the energy used to manufacture our Living Products by installing SmartFlower Solar™ energy units in underserved communities near schools with STEM curricula. The units use modular petal-shaped panels that autonomously follow the sun, generating 40% more energy than static solar panels. The most recent beneficiary was Emma Jewel Charter Academy in Cocoa, Florida.
Leading with Purpose
Our stakeholders, both internal and external, are increasingly interested in working with a company that puts social and environmental purpose on equal footing with economic profit. By working to make products with more sustainable inputs; to make our operations more environmentally efficient and to make investments in the people that define our success, Mohawk is shaping a higher purpose.
Ramie Vagal, Senior Manager, Sustainability
Scaling Product Certification
Mohawk Group has embarked on a journey of creating handprints over footprints — giving back more to the environment than we take — through the Living Product Challenge. This International Living Future Institute (ILFI) program provides a framework for manufacturers to reimagine the design and construction of products to function as elegantly and efficiently as anything found in the natural world. ILFI awards certification in seven performance areas, known as Petals.
Through innovations in materials, manufacturing and community involvement, all carpet tile styles manufactured at our Glasgow, Virginia plant with ColorStrand and/or Duracolor fiber and EcoFlex Matrix, EcoFlex NXT or EcoFlex NXT AIR carpet tile backing — more than 300 styles in all — have achieved Living Product Challenge Petal certification. Never before has a product manufacturer achieved certification at this scale. Today, Glasgow is fully embracing Mohawk’s mission to have a net positive impact for people and the environment through innovations in materials, manufacturing and community involvement.
Giving Learning Spaces a Fresh Look
A student’s environment plays an important role in their school experience and motivation to learn. That’s why for the past seven years, Mohawk Group has participated in School Crashers, donating flooring and other materials to help renovate public schools. This year’s chosen school was Toney Elementary in Decatur, Georgia, which received Nutopia and Lichen carpet planks for its media center and other areas.
Wellness at Work
In North America, Healthy Life Centers (HLCs) and biometric screenings are the centerpiece of our wellness initiatives. In addition to preventive care, HLCs provide acute care, chronic disease management, preventive exams, pediatrics, no-cost employee medication programs, mobile mammogram screenings, pre-placement examinations, wellness coaching and integrated care coordination with primary care physicians.
In Italy, Marazzi is taking a similar approach to promoting healthy lifestyles at work. The business regularly schedules office visits by healthcare specialists, such as dermatologists and smoking cessation experts. They also use communication in offices and manufacturing plants on the importance of exercise and nutrition.
Making a Wave of Change Through Art
In 2019 alone, Mohawk recycled more than 7 billion plastic bottles into carpet products. To help bring the importance of this work to life, we commissioned artist Basia Goszczynska to create an interactive sculpture that draws attention to plastic pollution in our oceans and celebrates innovative recycling technologies. “Overflow” incorporates the stages of transformation that single-use PET plastic bottles undergo during our patented Continuum process. The installation debuted at The International Surface Event in early 2020.
from Our CEO,
Jeffrey S. Lorberbaum
We often remind stakeholders that our business is managed with a 100-year perspective, not a quarter-to-quarter emphasis. This long-term view has been top-of-mind this year as the Mohawk brand celebrates its 100th anniversary — a milestone that also has given us cause to reflect. Over the past century, our business has experienced times of both prosperity— global expansion and business growth — and uncertainty during wars, economic downturns and great social changes. Today we, along with the rest of the world, are dealing with a challenge unlike any other in our lifetime — the coronavirus pandemic. We are weathering this situation as we always have, by supporting one another and assisting our customers and communities as best we can.
How can a flooring company make a difference during difficult times? Our history provides examples. During World War II, Mohawk converted woven carpet looms to produce blankets, tents, artillery covers and more for U.S. soldiers. In this same spirit of solidarity, in 2020, we began producing medical gowns and facial shields at our rug manufacturing facilities in Georgia. Production was ramped up quickly to output 5,000 gowns and 10,000 face shields daily, an extraordinary effort that wouldn’t have been possible without the enthusiasm and ingenuity of our people.
These same attributes are the driving force behind our commitments to sustainable products and processes, which are essential for the long-term success of our business. Mohawk is one of the world’s largest recyclers of plastic bottles, keeping these single-use items out of oceans and landfills and upcycling them into beautiful, durable polyester carpet and rugs. Each year, Mohawk’s use of recycled content extends to more than 500 product collections around the world, which collectively divert more than 6.5 billion pounds of material from waste streams.
Beyond our products, Mohawk is committed to the sustainable use of natural resources. Since 2015, we have lowered our water consumption by almost 450 million gallons, even as the Company’s global footprint grew. We are also expanding our production of green energy through windmills, solar panels and waste-to-energy conversion, which reduces our carbon footprint and lowers costs.
Beyond our focus on sustainable materials, we are dedicated to preserving our most sustainable resource — thousands of talented, dedicated men and women around the world. We are committed to their personal well-being and their professional development. The Company’s world-class safety initiatives continue to protect individuals in the workplace, and our clinics and wellness coaching have helped thousands of people manage chronic medical conditions. For 14 straight years, Mohawk has been ranked in the Training Top 125, reflecting the learning and development programs that help people fulfill their potential and help us better serve our customers.
Whatever challenges or opportunities the next 100 years hold, our firm view is that doing what’s right for our planet and the people with whom we share it will keep our business strong. As our foundational Mohawk brand begins its next century, I believe — notwithstanding the current pandemic crisis — that the best days for all of us lie ahead.
Jeffrey S. Lorberbaum
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
A Superpower Energy Solution for Dal-Tile
Spray-drying is an essential step in the tile manufacturing process, using hot air to turn liquid into a dry powder that is then pressed into tiles. The spray dryer at Dal-Tile’s Dickson, Tennessee, plant is the first in the world to be powered by microturbine engines, which makes for greater energy efficiency as microturbines automatically adjust generated power to match a facility’s load.
The microturbines are part of a combined heat and power (CHP) system that uses a combination of natural gas and electricity. In this system, natural gas that is usually burned as a source of heat for the plant’s spray dryers is first diverted to a set of microturbine engines. The turbines generate electricity, which is used to power the facility. Then, heat from the turbine combustion process is recovered from the engines and redirected to heat the spray dryer.
The CHP system is not only more efficient — it’s also more reliable. If the facility loses grid power, the Dickson plant can continue running on alternative power from the CHP system. This is vital for a tile plant, where an extended power outage could cause severe damage to machinery.
Dickson plant teams worked on planning and process testing of the CHP for more than 18 months, and implemented the system in late 2019. “I’m very proud of what the teams have accomplished,” says Kyle Bartz, Director of Energy for the Dickson plant. “Because of the success of this system, our new goal is to implement similar systems in any new facility construction in the future.”
100 Years of
Believing in Better
The story of Mohawk Industries is one of innovation, adaptability and a can-do spirit. It's a true American success story that begins with two New York-based businesses that joined forces to build what would become today's global flooring leader. It's also a story of continuously investing in people and products — many of which have helped to create a better world. Take a look at some of Mohawk's milestones from the past 100 years.
A merger between two Amsterdam, New York, carpet and rug makers creates Mohawk Carpet Mills, named for the river that runs through the town.
Mohawk changes American carpet manufacturing with Shuttlepoint, the first carpet to use high and low loops for a textured effect.
During WWII, Mohawk’s carpet and rug looms are used to weave blankets and canvas for tents for the U.S. military. With many male employees enlisted, women become a major contingent of the workforce.
The carpet industry shifts from wool to synthetic fibers, which are less expensive and therefore more accessible to the middle class. Durlon, Mohawk’s specially formulated Rayon, is combined with nylon to create heavily textured carpets.
Mohawk solidifies the shag carpet craze with Canyon Paradise, one of the best-selling products in the Company’s history.
Mohawk becomes greener with the acquisition of a company that recycles PET bottles into polyester carpet. We later introduce the patented Continuum process that allows us to manufacture this product with superior softness.
The Mohawk Group launches a partnership with Susan G. Komen™, through which we make donations for each square yard of qualifying commercial carpet purchased. To date, we have donated $6.1 million toward breast cancer research.
Mohawk expands beyond soft surfaces and claims a ceramic leadership position with the acquisition of Dal-Tile, the first in a series of expansions into new flooring categories, such as carpet tile, laminate, sheet vinyl and luxury vinyl tile.
Mohawk introduces SmartStrand, the first renewably sourced polymer carpets. The product creates a new fiber category, to which Mohawk has exclusive rights for carpet production.
Mohawk Flooring North America headquarters consolidates in a renovated spinning mill, earning LEED Gold certification on a campus designated as a Certified Wildlife Habitat.
Our global leadership extends into the Southern Hemisphere with the acquisitions of Godfrey Hirst, the largest carpet manufacturer in Australia and New Zealand; and Eliane, a leading Brazil-based ceramic company.
In 2019, Mohawk Group became the first manufacturer to dedicate an entire production line of the facility towards creating Living Products. Mohawk Group is proud to become the first market transformational leader in this space manufacturing more than 300 carpet tile Living Products annually.
While our businesses operate in a decentralized manner, all are sharing best practices to reduce our use of natural resources. Across Mohawk, we are approaching the final year of work toward our 2020 goals, set in 2010, to decrease energy, GHG, water and waste-to-landfill intensity by 25%. While we have enjoyed success in some areas, others have proven to be a challenge due to numerous acquisitions over the past decade. Over the next year, we will be conducting a materiality assessment to help guide us as we develop our next set of goals, which we plan to release in our 2021 report.
GHG Emissions Intensity
Waste to Landfill
Mohawk encourages our facilities throughout the world to pursue zero waste to landfill (ZLF) certification, which requires a plant to recycle or reuse 90% or more of its manufacturing process waste. To date, 50 Mohawk facilities have earned this certification. The most recent facility to achieve ZLF is the Georgia Hard Surfaces Bulk distribution center, the busiest distribution operation in our company. The site reduced waste to landfill by 57% in just six months to achieve 90% diversion. In the process, they found ways to reuse materials to benefit customers, such as cores that hold plastic wrap that are now being reused to stabilize product for shipping, which reduces damage.
On the opposite side of the globe, Godfrey Hirst is also encouraging employees to reuse. The business has eliminated single-use plastic containers in its head office, including those for cleaners, hand wash, air freshener and more. They are partnering with Zero Co, which provides reusable containers repurposed from ocean plastic that are refilled in a closed-loop system.
Taking an innovative approach to landfill waste diversion, an Eliane ceramic production plant in Brazil transformed a waste material into a new product. The grinding of rectified porcelain tiles generates a fine powder that can be used as a filler for mono-porous tiles. To prevent the powder from going to waste, Eliane’s Department of Ceramic Technology developed a new product formulation using greater amounts of powder, allowing the brand to reduce raw material extraction by about 5,100 tons.
Inspiration from the Ocean’s Treasures
Whether we are aware of it or not, most of us are innately drawn to the natural world. This principle is known as biophilia, and Mohawk uses it as inspiration to incorporate elements of nature into our floor covering designs. Biophilic designs are not just beautiful — they’re also good for our health. Offices designed with biophilic elements, for example, report greater productivity and fewer employee sick days. Similarly, patients in healthcare settings experience faster post-operative recovery times with the added presence of nature.
Mohawk’s latest foray into biophilia is The Oceanic Collection by Feltex, part of the Company’s flooring business in Australia and New Zealand. The collection evokes the vast mosaic patterns of reefs, islands and coral cays peppering the Tasman and Coral seas. Using a world-class print technology known as Designer Jet®, carpet planks and sheets can be customized in styles limited only by the imagination.
Highlighting the beauty of the natural world connects us to its necessary preservation. In a bid to be part of the plastic pollution solution, Feltex donates 10% of all sale proceeds from the Oceanic Collection to Take 3 For The Sea, a global movement that encourages people to help keep the oceans clean by removing three pieces of trash from their local beaches, green spaces and waterways.
Joining Forces for Circular Flooring
Circular economy principles — in which materials are continually repurposed for new uses rather than being discarded — are often applied across floor covering categories and across Mohawk brands around the world. This includes IVC, a Belgium-based manufacturer of vinyl, sheet vinyl and carpet tile and a member of the Mohawk family since 2015.
IVC is participating in Circular Flooring, a new project that aims to apply circular principles to the flooring industry in the European Union. The project will use an innovative process for recycling PVC floors that removes additional substances so that pure PVC can be processed into granules and reused in new flooring. IVC and ten other companies and research institutes from five European countries are implementing the project. “We’re eager to share our expertise and research innovative possibilities for recycling post-consumer waste for the Circular Flooring project,” says Joost Demuynck, international technical support director at IVC Group. “In this way, we aim to continue to contribute even more to a sustainable future for our planet by reducing natural resource impact.”
Smart About Sustainability At IVC and Mohawk Resilient
At IVC, our carpet tile and vinyl flooring business headquartered in Belgium, inland waterways are an important contributor to sustainability, providing both a source of water for processing and a lower-carbon transportation route. They also serve as a reminder to operate with respect for the local environment.
Here are a few ways
IVC does this:
With three windmills at the Avelgem site in Belgium, IVC has invested heavily in green energy. In fact, the windmills alone produce enough power to account for 40% of the annual energy consumption of the nearby IVC production facilities.
Today, IVC has the largest post-industrial waste recycling unit in the flooring industry, processing over 120,000 tonnes of material each year.
IVC exports 90% of products via water. Inland waterways are an essential part of its sustainable transport system: relying on them is climate-friendly, quiet, safe and reduces traffic congestion.
Producing vinyl floors generates a lot of heat. To cool down production infrastructure, IVC uses water from the nearby Scheldt river. This improves energy efficiency by 30% and allows 80% of the mechanical cooling system to be phased out.
3 Ways We Make Flooring More Sustainable
As a vertically integrated manufacturer, we look at the entirety of a product’s life cycle — considering not only what we make, but also how we make it. This approach allows us to enhance the sustainability of our products at virtually every point — sourcing, manufacturing, distribution, marketing, installation and end-of-life.
The process of increasing the environmental benefits of our products begins with choosing sustainable raw materials. There are three primary product categories that offer improved sustainability attributes:
(Click on an icon below to view/hide category descriptions).
Honoring Employees with Red, White and Blue
While Mohawk is a global flooring leader, our roots are firmly planted in American soil. To honor our employees and celebrate our heritage, Mohawk hosted a special American flag raising ceremony just in time for Independence Day 2019.
“The success of our company in the U.S. rests with more than 20,000 people who make, sell and deliver our exceptional products,” noted Mohawk Chairman and CEO Jeff Lorberbaum who spoke at the ceremony. “Mohawk’s competitive advantage is having the most talented and dedicated people in the industry. This flag honors all our employees across the country, particularly the hundreds of men and women at Mohawk who have served in our country’s armed forces. Our people reflect what makes America special: ingenuity, resourcefulness and a commitment to delivering the best.”
We also recognized employees for their years of service: one in every eight Mohawk employees worldwide has been with the company for 25 years or more. Lorberbaum introduced 19 employees from the Union Grove campus in Calhoun, Georgia, each of whom has served for between 30 and 45 years.
To show our appreciation for these employees, Mohawk raised a 45 foot by 75 foot American flag — the largest in the history of the state of Georgia — on the grounds of our Union Grove campus near I-75, one of America’s most heavily trafficked highways.
As Mohawk grows around the world, we bring with us a legacy of commitment to the communities in which our manufacturing facilities are located — the same communities our employees and their families call home. This commitment and our corporate philanthropic efforts are aligned with causes through which we can leverage our strengths and core capabilities. Here are just a few of the dozens of projects in which our employees helped out in 2019.
Slide 1: Painting, installing doorknobs, and placing fascia boards in a Habitat home in Southwest Atlanta.
Slide 2: Hosting a golf tournament that raised $107,000 to build a home through Habitat for Humanity of Gordon County, Georgia.
Slide 3: Gathering food for schoolchildren in need during the summer months at Dal-Tile Sales Service Center in Orlando, Florida.
Slide 4: Ensuring the Glasgow, Virginia volunteer fire department has a reliable engine and safety equipment for the firefighters who protect the town’s 1,150 residents.
Slide 5: Hosting 75 students for a summer camp focused on exploring the fun side of science, technology, engineering and design arts that are essential for manufacturing.
Professional Development at Every Level
Eliane, the Brazilian ceramics manufacturer that Mohawk acquired in 2018, is committed to helping professionals develop throughout their careers. This begins with students who need skills to prepare them for the labor market as they are beginning to explore careers. To meet this need, the business launched Generation Eliane, a program through which high school- and college-aged individuals participate in apprenticeships where they learn about Eliane’s business, as well as developing personal and professional skills that they can use in other jobs. The program lasts between one and two years, and at the end, apprentices create and present a project developed with the guidance of an Eliane mentor. To date, 64 former apprentices have been hired as full-time employees.
Eliane’s tradition of professional development and growth continues at the managerial level. Through the Leadership Academy program, Eliane reinforced inspiring leadership principles aligned with company strategy among its board, managers, coordinators and supervisors. Across three training cycles, the program encouraged ethical leadership and generating relationships based on trust. Participants focused on self-knowledge and self-leadership, change and conflict management, communication and development of high-performing teams.
Eliane evaluated the program through feedback from participants and routine engagement with teams. Since the conclusion of the program, the business has observed greater openness between leaders and their teams, improved emotional intelligence and self-knowledge among leaders and greater alignment toward Eliane’s organizational skills vision.
Doing Our Part
for a Cure
Since 2001, Mohawk has contributed more than $6.1 million to Susan G. Komen, the largest breast cancer research organization in the United States, through our corporate donation program known as Specify for a Cure. The program makes donations to Komen for each square yard of eligible carpet products sold. Countless customers and employees have been touched by breast cancer, either directly or indirectly, and support for Komen has become part of our culture. We’re proud to continue our support with traditions old and new.
For example, during 3-Day Walks held throughout the country, we provide SmartCushion pads for walkers to place under their sleeping bags for greater comfort during the 60-mile journey. In 2019, we also teamed with partners in each city that organized a walk to host a celebratory lunch to mark the walk’s halfway point, and donated bright pink carpet for “Mohawk Mile,” a path leading walkers to the finish line each day. In addition, Mohawk employees raised an extra $5,000 for Komen by organizing a t-shirt design contest. Employees purchased shirts bearing the winning design to support the cause.
Sewing Our Support for Medical Workers
As the COVID-19 crisis unfolds, people and organizations everywhere are looking for ways to help however they can. As a manufacturer of carpets and rugs, Mohawk realized that we could put industrial sewing equipment to work to produce vitally needed medical gowns for healthcare providers.
In partnership with Fabric Sources International, Mohawk quickly developed a process for cutting a fabric pattern and sewing together gown components, which are being supplied to regional health care facilities. The sewing team adapted quickly to the new product and material. Production expanded from a handful of gowns at first to 5,000 per day.
The group has also begun creating plastic face shields, another item needed by healthcare providers for protection when they treat patients. The face shield design has been approved by hospitals, and the group is now producing 10,000 units per day.
“I’m really proud to work for a company like Mohawk that immediately wanted to help out the community,” says Earl Nichols, Mohawk Home senior engineer. “In a matter of days, we were able to engineer, create and sort out the supply chain to manufacture these much-needed supplies for the hospitals. We just wanted to help in any way we could.”
These are just a few of the ways that Mohawk Industries is helping bring about a better world. For more information about our sustainability programs and accomplishments, please download our 2019 Sustainability Report.