Shaw Industries Group Inc. (Shaw) has debuted a program to recognize organizations focused on products and initiatives that support the wellbeing of people and the planet. The company’s sustain[HUMAN]ability recognition program, which kicked off with a webinar in conjunction with Sustainable Brands, will explore what is driving these organization’s varied efforts, the challenges they’ve faced, keys to success and what’s on the horizon.
“At Shaw, we put people at the center of sustainability — what we call sustain[HUMAN]ability. That’s why we’re focused on the ingredients that go into products and the impacts of sound, moisture and other design elements,” states Susan Farris, vice president of sustainability and corporate communications. “There are so many great people and organizations striving to make a positive impact on people and the planet. By showcasing a range of organizations that share our focus on putting people at the heart of their sustainability efforts, we hope others will be inspired to drive change and learn from these organizations’ successes, innovations and challenges.”
The 10 organizations Shaw is recognizing as part of this effort over the coming year are (in alphabetical order):
- American Family Insurance, headquartered in Madison, Wis., is a property/casualty insurance group. With a company mission to inspire, protect and restore dreams, American Family created DreamBank in 2012, a public space where community members can gather to find inspiration and resources for discovering and pursuing their own dreams. DreamBank is located in downtown Madison at American Family’s Spark building, which was constructed with a commitment to energy-saving building techniques and healthy spaces, designed to enhance well-being and reflect its sustainability values.
- Eastman is a global specialty materials company that produces a broad range of products found in items people use every day. In early 2019, the company announced two recycling innovations to tackle the global problem of waste plastic by recycling plastics that cannot be processed by mechanical recycling, and thus end up in our landfills and waterways. Carbon renewal technology was first announced in April and has already begun commercial operation. The other – advanced circular recycling – will process polyester waste, while carbon renewal technology is a game-changer for recycling because it provides an end-of-life solution for almost any kind of plastic.
- Harvard University is the oldest institution of higher education in the U.S. Harvard’s Healthier Building Materials Academy (HBMA) is a partnership between the Harvard Office for Sustainability and public health, medical, and engineering faculty. HBMA’s goal is to implement a standardized holistic approach to optimize for human health in the built environment and throughout supply chains. Harvard works with businesses, manufacturers, and non-profit organizations to transform the marketplace for health.
- Health Care Without Harm is a nonprofit organization that works to transform health care worldwide to reduce its environmental footprint, become a community anchor for sustainability and a leader in the global movement for environmental health and justice.
Among its efforts, the organization has created environmental criteria, guidance, and goals to help healthcare facilities and others make purchasing decisions that support people and the planet.
- Healthy Building Network (HBN) is a nonprofit that has helped define the leading edge of healthy building practices. For nearly two decades they’ve worked to increase transparency in the building products industry, reduce human exposures to hazardous chemicals, and create market incentives for healthier innovations in manufacturing. HBN’s HomeFree is a national initiative helping leaders in affordable housing do better through scientific guidance and educational resources, including their collaboration with the Housing Partnership Networking (HPN) and HPN Select EcoGuide.
- HeiQ is a leader in textile innovation that helps textile brands and manufacturers identify, target and manufacture novel technologies. The company’s 80 employees on four continents work with a network of more than 40 PhDs to leverage academic research and internal development specialists to create disruptive textile technologies and the marketing narratives to communicate the added value to the consumers. Recently, HeiQ collaborated with IKEA to create GUNRID, an air purifying curtain concept.
- Perkins and Will is a global architecture and design firm that ignited an industry movement toward healthy building materials in 2008. The firm’s Material Performance Lab—one of seven research labs—continues to investigate product ingredients and their impact on human health, and to educate design professionals on how to choose healthier, more sustainable products for the built environment.
- Purpose Built Communities is working to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty with a focus on creating healthy, thriving neighborhoods. The nonprofit organization helps local leaders revitalize struggling neighborhoods, and brings together the components necessary for holistic community revitalization: high quality mixed-income housing, an effective cradle-to-college education pipeline, and comprehensive community wellness resources, organized and driven by a single purpose non-profit entity that is part of the Purpose Built Communities network.
- Schott Design is an Indianapolis, Ind.-based architecture and design firm committed to providing safe, sustainable and healthy workplace solutions. With a commitment to advancing a circular economy, the firm has launched a product exchange program, SchottXchange, going beyond its already expansive carpet reclamation and recycling efforts on all of its projects. SchottXChange facilitates the reuse of items within or between buildings diverting materials from the landfill.
- The University of Georgia New Materials Institute partners with industry and businesses to design materials that create less waste and are safe for people, animals and Earth. It also works with governments and organizations to redesign systems to generate less waste and promote circularity in materials management. The Institute trains the next generation of scientists and engineers in the Principles of Green Engineering.
As part of this recognition program, Shaw will profile these organizations in a blog series on SustainableBrands.com beginning in November 2019.