Flooring with a green heart

Flooring with a green heart

Because we can!

We firmly believe that conducting business responsibly and creating sustainable solutions is a “must do” to keep us ahead of the game. But as an industry leader in cushion vinyl flooring, we also feel that it’s our moral duty to contribute to a more sustainable world. Especially as we are in a position to make a big difference. Strolling around the house, navigating the office, shopping in town ... we all tread on millions of square metres of cushion vinyl flooring as we live our everyday lives. And Beauflor is a major player, delivering large volumes of vinyl flooring to all corners of the world every year.

Because we are well aware of our enormous social and environmental responsibilities, we’ve incorporated a sustainable approach into all aspects of our business – from deeply caring for our employees to offering a growing number of eco-friendly flooring solutions.

Moving ahead together

Beauflor is a subsidiary of the Beaulieu International Group (B.I.G.), a global industrial group that specialises in polymers, engineered solutions and flooring solutions. In terms of vinyl flooring solutions, Beauflor has become a world leader. Being part of a resilient group allows us to focus on what we do best: building long-term partnerships, creating 100%-customisable designs, offering strong digital services and supporting our customers with a down-to-earth attitude.

A tailored sustainability model

Sustainability is an integral part of Beauflor as well as B.I.G. which will gain in importance in the years to come. In order to deliver “Continuous Improvement” when it comes to environmental, social, ethical and economical matters, we have created our very own sustainability model. Why? Because we felt that a general framework, such as the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals, falls somewhat short of our own unique aspirations. After carefully discussing our aspirations with our colleagues, we translated their concerns and ambitions into 5 focus points, which are closely intertwined with our company DNA:

  1. We take responsibility for the environmental impacts generated in our operations.
  2. We value our employees and the people around us.
  3. We work towards a circular economy with the whole supply chain in mind.
  4. We take responsibility for our climate impact.
  5. We act with integrity and value open communication.

Committed to a lifecycle approach

We want to help consumers to reduce their ecological footprints, whether it’s a family wanting to refurbish their home, a businessman planning to build new offices or a retail store looking to find an ideal mix between usability and sustainability. All our products aim to be green. But what exactly makes a product truly ‘green’? The answer lies in lifecycle assessment. Lifecycle assessment implies that everyone in the whole chain of a product’s lifecycle, from cradle to grave, has a responsibility and a role to play. From the sourcing of raw materials to end-of-life solutions: every phase of our supply chain offers opportunities to protect the planet. It is our ambition to seize those opportunities to the fullest.

 

Beauflor vinyl flooring advantages silent

Stage 1 : Raw materials

Every product lifecycle starts with the extraction and sourcing of raw materials. Two basic principles help us to pinpoint effective actions on this front. First, the less material needed, the better. We always try to optimise our products so that we only need a minimum of material to begin with, our “Foaming” process is a prime example of this. Second, for the materials we do need, we minimise our footprint.

Reducing transport

We source our raw materials close to our manufacturing facilities. Moreover, through smart logistics, we limit deliveries to 2 or 3 times a week, instead of organising daily deliveries.

Managing risks from chemicals 

By committing to only using REACH compliant chemicals, we assure consumers that they’ll get a floor free from potentially hazardous chemical substances.

Partnering with trusted suppliers 

Through a network of trusted suppliers, we make sure all raw materials carry the necessary certificates. Our sustainability code also applies to them. 

Prioritising quality assurance 

Our global quality assurance system, which is based on stringent quality standards, enables us to maintain consistency across all organisational levels and conveys integrity.

 

Material matters

PolyVinyl Resin 

PVC products have a wide range of benefits including improved durability, thermal insulation, reduced maintenance, enhanced functionality and recyclability. Moreover, 57% of PVC consists of chlorine, which is made from common salt. Last but not least, the production of PVC requires limited energy use, compared to, for example, the production of ceramic tiles. 

 

Plasticisers 

PVC comes in two forms: as a rigid, unplasticised polymer (used in window frames, doors, etc.) or as a flexible plastic (used in credit cards, children’s toys, etc.). Our vinyl floors belong to the second category, which contains plasticisers. However, our plasticisers are entirely free of harmful ortho-phthalates. To illustrate: we always use DOTP, a plasticiser that is considered safe by the European Chemicals Agency, due to its excellent toxicological profile. In other words: our clients can rest assured that our flooring solutions are 100% safe. 

 

Fillers 

Natural fillers, in the form of calcium carbonate (mainly limestone), are used to add bulk to the mixture and to reduce the amount of resin required. This is what gives the vinyl its deep luxury texture. The limestone also adds dimensional stability to the floor and provides a neutral background to set off the colour or pattern. Good to know: limestone is known for its UV resistance, which increases the durability of the floor. The material also reduces the volume of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) released into the atmosphere and requires little or no processing.

Other materials

Vinyl flooring consists of multiple layers: a base layer, a core layer, a printed layer and a protective wear layer. Each of these layers contains different materials, but we keep a close eye on their environmental impacts. For example, the stabilisers we add to the PVC are organic. The inks we use to print the pattern are water based, 100% recyclable and free of toxic fumes. The PU lacquer is hardened with UV light, which helps minimise energy consumption in our factories.

 

Stage 2 : Production

Within any manufacturing process, energy efficiency and effective waste management are two key environmental priorities. Needless to say, we pull out all the stops to address both topics adequately and thus drastically reduce our carbon footprint and avoid causing any pollution. A selection of the actions we take to run an eco-friendly production process:

 

Energy Solar panels

The solar panels on the roof of our plant in Belgium produce approximately the same amount of energy used by 240 families on a yearly basis. 

 

LED lighting

All our plants, warehouses and offices now strictly use LED lights, which are up to 80% more efficient than incandescent lighting. 

 

Production speed 

An increase in the speed of production reduces the energy needed to produce 1m2 of vinyl flooring. 

 

Heat recovery

The excess heat from gas cleaning processes is recovered and reused via the latest heat recovery technology.  Waste Management

 

Digital printing

We are pioneers in the development of digital printing technology. This allows us to have smaller production runs, which results in less waste. 

 

Circular solutions

Nearly 100% of our manufacturing waste is recycled into other products by our manufacturing partners. 

 

Internal recycling

We set up internal recycling processes for, among other things, cushion vinyl waste, liquid waste and PVC paste. 

 

Continuous production

By drastically reducing the changeover times, when going from one design to another, in our Belgian factory we have significantly reduced waste.

 

Stage 3 : Transport

Freight transport is a major user of energy and a significant contributor to global warming through the emission of carbon dioxide. Therefore, in any lifecycle assessment, this stage deserves all the attention it can get. At Beauflor, we constantly evaluate the direct and indirect impacts of our transportation systems and look for ways to optimise them.  A selection of the actions we take to organise green transport: 

 

Multimodal transport

Whenever we can, we transport our goods via inland waterways instead of roads. With over 37,000 km of waterways, Europe is an ideal place to exploit the benefits of this reliable and energy-efficient means of transportation. 

 

Proximity

Our main target markets are situated in Europe, so we deliberately manufacture in Europe to avoid the need for complex logistics processes and long transport routes. 

 

Internal logistics

By revamping our internal logistics with an emphasis on automation, we have successfully increased efficiency, speed and accuracy. Moreover, this results in an overall drop in energy consumption.

 

Stage 4 : Packaging

Sustainable packaging is important because it helps both us and our customers to protect the planet. The reason: if no recovery and recycling processes are built into the lifecycle, the packaging ends up in the general waste chain or as litter along our streets.  A selection of the actions we take to optimise our packaging practices: 

 

Take-back systems

The green dot (‘Der Grüne Punkt’), used by over 130,000 companies, is the license symbol of a European network of industry-funded systems for recycling the packaging materials of consumer goods. This means that we recycle the packaging waste remaining after installation. 

 

Eco-friendly materials

The packaging material that we use to protect our vinyl rolls is made of 100%-recycled plastic foil and cardboard. Integrating recycled content in our supply chain is a long-standing tradition at Beauflor and we will further step up our efforts in the future.

 

Stage 5 : Installation & Use

Our ambition is simple: we want our customers to enjoy the safest and healthiest floor coverings available on the market. That may sound like overstretching it, but our vinyl floors already rank among the world’s top floors for sustainable use. This achievement is rooted in years of product innovation, smart investments and cross-sectoral experience. Responsible installation, although it may seem unimportant, can also make a big difference.

A selection of the actions we take to deliver a world-class installation and user experience: 

 

Adhesive-free installation

Thanks to our textile backings, we are able to provide flooring solutions for areas of up to 45m2 that don’t require any glue during the installation – whereas PVC backings are only suitable for loose-lay installations of much smaller spaces. 

 

Sound absorption

By reducing irritating noises, we can make our homes, offices and public areas more comfortable places to be in. So, we design floors with a special soft foam backing that can easily absorb noises and improve the acoustics of a room. 

 

Easy maintenance

Cleaning cushion vinyl is a piece of cake. With minimal water and detergent required, the job is done in the blink of an eye, which also means more free time. 

 

Lasting solutions

More than 60% of our standard collections are covered with our premium coating – a protective layer that prevents dirt and stains from leaving permanent marks.
When trying to create  healthy workplaces, homes and public areas, it is easy to forget that air quality is a potential health risk, because we can’t really see it. But studies have shown that poor air quality can lead to headaches, respiratory issues and performance impairment. Indeed, the environment in which we spend most of our time has a direct impact on our health, and we happen to spend most of our time indoors. Indoor air quality is closely related to emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are emitted as harmful gases from certain solids and liquids that contain chemicals: paint, lacquer, glue, cosmetics, building materials, etc. Obviously, less VOCs means better air quality. A good way to minimise VOCs? Healthy floors – which happens to be our trademark.

 

Stage 6 : End-of-life solutions

We actively reject our society’s built-in wastefulness through hyper disposability. The world needs more sustainable product solutions, and that starts with responsible product development. For example, our product development strategies focus on easy disassembly, improved longevity, maximum reusability and total circularity. 
 

Beauflor vinyl flooring advantages water resistant

A selection of the actions we take to create meaningful end-of-life solutions: 

 

Network of partners

We send all our waste products to our international processing partners, which then reuse the waste in new products. 

 

Meticulous internal recycling

Leveraging the latest recycling technology, we manage to sort all our leftovers to optimise recycling (inks with inks, glass membranes with glass membranes, PVC with PVC, etc.). 

 

Eco product development

Our products are made from 100%-recyclable materials, so when a floor no longer serves its purpose, it doesn’t end up in landfill.

 

Eyes on the future

Beauflor actively supports the worldwide movement towards more sustainable solutions. As an international company, we strongly feel responsible for reducing our impact on the environment. 

 

These are some of our main goals: 

We will ensure full compliance with environmental regulations and laws and regard best practice as the minimum standards for environmental performance. 

We will further minimise the need for raw materials and protect our planet’s resources, and we will responsibly source the – preferably natural – materials required for our manufacturing processes. 

We will invest in facilities, equipment and technology to establish energy efficiency, effective waste management and sustainable water consumption. 

We will explore new ways of transport and smart logistics that ease the burden on our planet. 

We will continue to commit to eco-packaging and adhesive-free installation processes. 

We will create flooring solutions that improve people’s lives in a range of ways, from guaranteeing indoor air quality to offering acoustic benefits. 

We will keep our focus on materials and end products that are fully recyclable. 

We will take care of our employees as well as local communities. 

We will only work with partners that commit to our values of integrity and sustainability.
Pioneering with circularity

We could elaborate on how much we care about our planet and the people living on it, but we prefer to show which concrete projects we have in store for the future rather than stating the obvious.

Beauflor vinyl flooring advantages warm touch

Circular Flooring consortium 

What? 

The European Circular Flooring project aims to establish a circular recycling process for post-consumer PVC floor coverings.

Why? 

For PVC products, recycling rates of only 20% have been achieved so far, while a large percentage of the PVC waste is still landfilled or incinerated.

How? 

The consortium is further developing the CreaSolv® Recycling Process to separate PVC resin (from post-consumer floor coverings) from legacy plasticisers (phthalic acid esters) that do not conform to the EU REACH Directive.

Our contribution

As part of ERFMI, the European trade association representing the interests of the resilient floor covering industry in Europe, our in-house R&D team will analyse the usability of the PVC recyclate resulting from the CreaSolv® Process in our flooring products.

 

CIrcular SUstainable FLOoring (CISUFLO)

What?

As an EU Horizon 2020 project, CISUFLO sets up a framework for circular and sustainable floor coverings, while minimising the environmental impact of the sector. The project will include 6 pilots focusing on manufacturing, sorting, separating and recycling laminate, resilient and carpet floor coverings.

Why?

To support the European Union’s transition towards a circular economy. CISUFLO will help to shift approximately 5 billion euros or 12,000 jobs towards the circular economy sector, with the potential to triple these numbers in the longer term.

How? 

#1 By developing solutions for recycling current floor covering waste streams and thus bringing the materials back into open or closed-loop recycling processes.  #2 By adapting the composition and manufacturing of current products to enable a higher recycled content.  #3 By developing, manufacturing and marketing novel flooring products and services that are fully fit for the circular economy.

Our contribution

B.I.G. is one of the 19 core partners of the project and will focus specifically on vinyl floor coverings through Beauflor.

Beauflor in Certificates

REACH

Reach is an European Union regulation concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of CHemicals. The position of BIG floorcoverings, division cushion vinyl is clear; for all of our European legal entities and divisions, all measures are in place in order to ensure REACH compliancy. No harmfull substances added, such as formalehyde, lead, cadmium, mercury or hexavalant chromium.

M1

M1 is the short version name of the Finnish voluntary emission classification of building materials. M1 is the name of the lowest emission class of that system. Beauflor products comply with M1 requirements.

AgBB

AgBB (Ausschuss zur gesundheilichen Bewertung von Bauprodukten) is a committee for health-related evaluation of building products. Beauflor's vinyl products satisfy the stringent emission criteria as stipulated by the renowned DiBt Institute in Berlin.

Floorscore©

The most recognized indoor air quality (IAQ) certification standard for hard surface flooring materials, adhesives and underlayments. Developed by SCS with the Resilient Floor Covering Institute (RFCI), a leading industry trade association of flooring manufacturers and suppliers, it qualifies for many green building schemes including LEED v4, WELL, BREEAM and CHP.

EPD - ERFMI

ERFMI (European Resilient Flooring Manufacturer Institute) has prepared EU with Life Cycle Assessment of a broad range of flooring types and specifications. From this study, a series of Life Cycle Analysis data sheets have been produced, called EPD's (Environment Product Declaration). Beauflor is an active member of ERFMI.

Green A+ Label

All our Beauflor products carry the green A+ label, the highest accolade awarded by the French authorities.

VinylPlus®

VinylPlus® is the voluntary commitment to sustainable development of the European PVC industry, working to improve the sustainability performance of PVC. PVC can be recycled multiple times, and VinylPlus® works to do so just this! Beauflor is an active member of VinylPlus®.

FDES

A FDES (Fiches de Données Environnementales et Sanitaires) is a standardised document that shows the result of a product's life cycle analysis as well as health information, used to calculate the environmental and health performance of an eco-design building. All our ranges are covered by an FDES, which enables our consumers to assess the environmental impact of our products and to our engineers, to set eco-design objectives according to objective criteria.

ISO14001

ISO14001 certification means that the industrial site complies with all the environmental standards, measures all environmental impacts and is committed to continuously improve its environmental performance. Beauflor's Slovenian plant is ISO14001 certified.

ISO9001

The most widely used standard for quality control worldwide. The goal of quality management system is to keep the organization focused on continuous improvement in order to increase customer satisfaction. Beauflor industrial sites are ISO9001 certified.

LEEDtm

LEEDtm (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is an internationally recognised green building certification system developed by the US Green Building Council. Beauflor products comply with this protocol. Beauflor also contributes to LEED certification by offering low emission products (Floorcore certified products).