Shaw Industries Group Inc. has debuted a program to recognize diverse organizations focused on products and initiatives that support the wellbeing of people and the planet. After kicking off with a webinar in conjunction with Sustainable Brands on Oct. 17, the company’s “sustain[HUMAN]ability” recognition program will explore what is driving these organization’s varied efforts, the challenges they’ve faced, and their keys to success.
“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,” says 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 include:
- American Family Insurance is one of the nation’s largest property and casualty insurance groups. In 2012, American Family created DreamBank, an empowering 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.
- Eastman is a global specialty materials company that produces a broad range of products found in everyday items. In early 2019, the company announced two recycling innovations to tackle the global problem of plastic waste by recycling plastics that cannot be processed by mechanical recycling. Eastman’s carbon renewal technology was announced in April, providing an end-of-life solution for almost any kind of plastic. The other — advanced circular recycling — will process polyester waste.
- 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 the university’s public health, medical, and engineering faculty. HBMA’s goal is to implement a standardized holistic approach to optimize human health in the built environment and throughout supply chains. Harvard works with businesses, manufacturers, and non-profit organizations to collaboratively transform the marketplace for health.
- Health Care Without Harm is a nonprofit organization that works to reduce the environmental footprint of healthcare worldwide by becoming a community anchor for sustainability. Among its efforts, the organization has created environmental criteria, guidance, and goals to help healthcare facilities and other organizations make purchasing decisions that support people and the planet.
- Healthy Building Network (HBN) is a nonprofit that promotes healthy building practices. For nearly two decades, HBN has worked to increase transparency in the building products industry and reduce human exposures to hazardous chemicals. HBN also creates market incentives for healthier innovations in manufacturing. HBN’s HomeFree is a national initiative helping leaders in affordable housing “do better” with the support of scientific guidance and educational resources, including their collaboration with the Housing Partnership Networking (HPN) and HPN Select EcoGuide.
- HeiQ helps textile brands and manufacturers quickly identify, target, and manufacture novel technologies. The company’s 80 employees on four continents work closely with a network of more than 40 PhDs to help create disruptive textile technologies and marketing narratives that provide added value to consumers. Recently, HeiQ collaborated with IKEA to create GUNRID, a new 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.
- Purpose Built Communities is working to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty with a focus on creating healthy, thriving neighborhoods. The nonprofit helps local leaders revitalize struggling neighborhoods by bringing together the vital components necessary for holistic community revitalization: high quality mixed-income housing, an effective cradle-to-college education pipeline, and comprehensive community wellness resources.
- Schott Design is an architecture and design firm committed to providing safe, sustainable, and healthy workplace solutions. 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 to divert materials from the landfill.
- The University of Georgia New Materials Institute partners with businesses to design materials that create less waste and promote safety for people, animals and Earth. It also works with governments and organizations to redesign systems that 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.