ege – a flying carpet for sustainability

| By Dorrit Bøilerehauge | Notify the newsdesk of a story

Fly high into the future of CSR

Earlier this year, the Danish carpet producer, ege, achieved Cradle to Cradle certifications on 34 products. A milestone, ege said. The company also stated that they wish to take CSR to a higher level. That ignited the interest of Nordic Design News. What was behind – and indeed in - the ambitious statement?

CSR is not a choice
Dorthe Kallestrup, CSR Project Manager at ege, explained the special considerations for a carpet producer and designer when working within a CSR framework. “From our point of view, CSR is not a choice. It is a necessity. The world needs companies to take responsibility for their impact on the earth’s resources. We wish to be at the forefront in this area. It has always been a part of the way we do business – long before the term CSR was even invented.
As we are a carpet producer, we use large amounts of water and electricity as well as chemicals, adhesives, dyes etc. All these materials have a negative impact the environment, and that is why we have been dedicated to reducing the environmental impact for 20 years.
We also focus on materials and ensure that no hazardous chemicals or dyes are used, and that the carpets comply with Danish standards for indoor climate. Ege has worked hard to design carpet collections mainly produced by recycled materials.
We have developed design by recycled products, use of renewable energy, and promotion of non-hazardous chemicals. Therefore, we now have more Cradle to Cradle certified products than any other carpet producer worldwide.”

Teaching customers
Ege also takes on the task of teaching their customers about CSR. Not an easy task, but Dorthe Kallestrup finds that it is moving in the right direction. “We try to educate our customers (architects, designers etc.) as to the importance of CSR and environmental certificates. The world is facing serious problems and climate changes. Companies need to take action – and consumers need to engage in responsible shopping. They need to buy from responsible producers and select products not polluting more than they contribute.”

Obviously, the work and the values of ege elicit respect and even admiration, but also some consideration concerning the magnitude of the CSR task in the daily running of a business. However, Dorthe Kallestrup does not seem overwhelmed by the complexity: “The UN Global Compact has 10 principles. We support every single one of them with our actions. Historically, ege’s CSR has focused on the environment. We have a very long list of environmental certificates documenting this. A large part of our products consists mainly of recycled materials such as plastic bottles and dumped fishing nets found in the ocean, and we have goals for production of 100% recyclable carpets before 2020.”

Read more: Filippa K on the CSR track

A pixie book for policy and conduct
Additionally, ege is working within other areas of UN Global Compact regarding human rights and equality, and has developed a CSR policy for internal use as well as a Code of Conducts for suppliers and partners worldwide. Besides, ege has anti-corruption guidelines, and a pixie book and an anticorruption e-learning tool explaining the rules to employees worldwide.

Dorthe Kallestrup rounds off: “CSR at ege is not just about environment. It is about 360 degrees sustainability. Our business strategy is called “Sustainable Carpet Design 2020”. CSR is an integrated part of the way we do business.”

Point taken. Ege will not only be floating elegantly above us with their CRS visions. As common in Jutland, the part of Denmark where ege is rooted, they have earthbound and targeted CSR goals ready. Eight of them. For 2020. Something to look up to.
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