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Environmental product certification and approval – what to look out for

In the past year, there has been a marked increase in the demand for flooring products that carry environmental accreditation. Clients, architects and main contractors are becoming more and more invested in designing and building with minimal negative impact on the environment and contributing positively to mitigating the climate crisis. Suppliers are following suit with certification and accreditation of their products to remain competitive in the marketplace. But environmental certification schemes are still relatively new in the flooring industry and it can be complicated to work out how relevant; how important and how useful a certification actually is.

The key factor behind a valuable certification is independent testing. When you are offered a flooring product that is certified, approved or carries some sort of accreditation, you assume the suppliers’ claims have a sound basis. If a company started its own environmental certification scheme to rate their own brand floors alongside those they buy from other manufacturers, most people would find this unusual and ask how this could be transparent or guaranteed free from inherent bias. With no evidence of independent standards being used, the company is acting both as referee and player.

In truth most people in the industry will probably recognise what is going on, but if it was the only product assessment scheme in existence, some customers may be tempted to think that it is better than nothing and base their purchase decision on it. Thankfully, it’s not the only option, and there are schemes to evaluate the environmental credentials of flooring and lacquer products that customers can truly rely on.

To have value and credibility the approval needs to be:

Independently tested by an accredited laboratory or testing house.
Tested to a recognised standard such as an EN, BSEN or some generally accepted industry norm.

At Junckers we are proud to work for a company whose floor products have numerous environmental accreditations that meet the aforementioned criteria, which confirm Junckers floors as one of the best choices for low embodied carbon, sustainable materials and limiting waste and damage to the environment.

Here are some examples employed by Junckers: 

EPD, Environmental Product Declaration – Independently verified, ensuring the entire supply chain of Junckers flooring from raw material sourcing through to production and distribution, adhere to strict sustainability standards.
BRE Green Guide - Part of BREEAM (BRE Environmental Assessment Method), an accredited environmental rating scheme for buildings. The Green Guide provides a guide to the environmental impacts of building materials, based on numerical data. Junckers floors are A+ rated.
Danish Indoor Climate Labelling Scheme - this measures the emissions of various VOCs including formaldehyde and shows that Junckers floors are beneficial to the indoor environment.
FSC® and PEFC Certificates - proves the timber we use is from legal and sustainable sources.
ISO 140001 Independent accreditation for the company’s environmental management systems
CDPH Certificate - Californian Department of Public Healthassessment of VOC emissions from the floor. Widespread recognition beyond the US and plays a key part in BREEAM and WELL assessments.
CSR – Corporate Social Responsibility scheme to show Junckers is a responsible member of the business and social community. As an element of this initiative Junckers has signed up to the UN Global Compact.

There is currently a rush among companies to declare their environmental credentials. The pace of change and the pressure from clients, Governments and regulatory bodies is such that some companies are struggling to put forward a coherent and transparent case for their products. In the wood flooring industry for example, this might be because their supplies of timber cannot be certified as sustainable. More education around renewable and responsible products to help specifiers select suppliers and manufacturers that are fully committed to sustainable practices with independently verified certification.

For more information and advice, please contact Richard Aylen, Technical manager RIA@junckers.com