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Desso’s 100% Recyclable Products Snag Award; Marks & Spencer, Interface, SAB Miller Also Win

Carpet manufacturer Desso changed its business model in 2008 and started to only design products that are 100 percent biodegradable or can be entirely recycled to provide raw materials for new products – a practice that helped it win the 2012 Guardian Sustainable Business Award for waste and recycling.

To date, the company has evaluated almost 90 percent of its Polyamide carpet tiles, encompassing almost 50 percent of its business, and is phasing out unacceptable components. Desso plans to have all of its products designed according to the Cradle to Cradle concept (pictured above) by 2020. Desso also has developed a program to retrieve used carpets that don’t contain PVC, and recycle the materials.

The Guardian Sustainable Business Awards, announced yesterday, have 12 categories including environment, energy, social impact and innovation. Entrants were judged by sustainability experts including leaders from Greenpeace, Oxfam, the Climate Change Committee and Business in the Community.

German sports manufacturer Puma was the overall GSB award winner as well as winner of the biodiversity category, for being the first major company to create an environmental profit and loss account. Earlier this month, Puma earned an A grade in EIRIS’s Top 10 Global Sustainability Leaders list.

French footwear company Veja and retailer Marks & Spencer shared the GSB award in the supply chain category. M&S is working to transform its entire global supply chain to create fair workplaces and make improvements in environmental performance. For example, M&S sources sustainable packaging from Sweden and works with fish suppliers and conservationists on marine stewardship.  The company also is working with food suppliers on sustainable water use in Kenya; setting up eco-factories in the UK, Turkey and China; and establishing fair pay standards in Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Bangladesh.

Veja has taken a holistic approach to its supply chain, which starts by paying its co-operative cotton growers and rubber tappers between 30 percent and 100 percent above the world market price. The company actively campaigns against deforestation and promotes eco-farming by using materials such as organic cotton and wild Amazonian rubber. Veja then takes its philosophy back to France by investing in social projects there.

Other GSB awards went to SABMiller for making more beer using less water; Carillion for making a social impact by supporting The Library of Birmingham Project; and Interface for innovation with its closed loop “Go Beyond” program.
Picture of Desso’s Cradle to Cradle design concept

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