posted on March 6, 2011
Since Wilsonart began producing laminate products in 1956, being a responsible member of the community has been woven into the company’s culture. In recent years, as the company’s manufacturing and distribution networks have expanded worldwide, the organization’s impact on the environment has become an increasingly important concern. According to plant manager Dennis Clark during a recent visit, “environmental stewardship is a part of Wilsonart’s culture, not just a one-time project. It is a business strategy which has reduced the company’s environmental impact while simultaneously improving the work environment for employees and reducing operational costs.” Wilsonart International’s sustainability policy follows a three pronged strategy, focusing on energy management, waste treatment and transportation. Effectively managing these three components has allowed the company to produce a better product while ensuring a sustainable future.
Controlling energy costs is essential to any business especially in the manufacturing sector. If left unaccounted for, rising energy costs can hinder growth and monopolize valuable working capital. Tracking energy uses within the manufacturing facility while simultaneously utilizing technological advances to reduce consumption is one way Wilsonart has promoted a sustainable culture. The company has already implemented lighting conversion initiatives that reduce electricity demands in many of its facilities. Replacing the existing lighting system with high efficiency T-8 fluorescent fixtures that are two-times as efficient has allowed for a 50% reduction in electrical consumption for light usage.
In addition to leveraging energy reduction strategies, Wilsonart International is also an industry leader in the development of GREENGUARD® Indoor Air Quality Certified products. GREENGUARD Certified products meet stringent requirements for chemical emissions and toxicity, such as being screened for over 10,000 different chemicals. “Customers demand products which are of the highest quality. Wilsonart International’s product line exceeds these expectations.” Wilsonart is the first in North America to obtain FSC® certification in the industry (SCS-COC-002415), which means their products are sourced from well-managed forests. Our product lines also strive to maximize materials which contain post-consumer recycled fiber content, as certified by Scientific Certification Systems and utilize rapidly renewable materials such as eucalyptus. Utilizing these materials ensures sustainability. In addition to producing a great product, the company also manages waste streams effectively. Untreated scrap Kraft paper and spools from decorative and Kraft paper are weighed, accounted for and then diverted to recycled paper mills or reintegrated into the manufacturing process. Wilsonart employees have also started their own recycling program at work. Office waste paper is collected daily from each office and recycled.
Costs associated with supply chain management are perhaps the most widely experienced issue in the manufacturing sector. To effectively manage the impact of an expanding, international customer base, the company has made strategic investments in a new “greener” fleet arsenal of energy efficient Volvo VNL780 tractors. The company fleet of CSA Certified trucks is equipped with engines that deliver low emissions and high fuel efficiency, aerodynamic enhancements for wind resistance, anti-idling features and low-rolling resistance tires. The company has also realigned warehousing needs which allow the company to more efficiently get product from point A to point B while ensuring timely delivery.
“Sustainability is in Wilsonart’s culture,” says Clark. “It’s about doing the right things for the right reasons.” Following a prescribed sustainability strategy has allowed Wilsonart International to grow into a leader in the laminate industry. However, company leadership and the organization’s dedicated employees continue to look for new ways to increase efficiency and reduce waste streams. To learn more about Wilsonart’s sustainability efforts, please visit sustain.wilsonart.com.