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Wilsonart: With Respect For the Future
Spools of kraft paper are diverted to recycled paper mills.
Green champions show up in unusual places. Temple Texas, for example, is the home of Wilsonart, the leading producer of high-pressure decorative laminate in North America. It is also the first laminate company to receive Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) chain of custody certification from Scientific Certification Systems (SCS), the global leader in third-party evaluation of environmental and sustainability claims.
Surprised that a p-lam manufacturer (yes, the “p” stands for plastic) would be recognized for its environmental achievements? Don’t be. I’ve been working (as a consultant) with Wilsonart since 2007 and can testify to both its commitment and achievements.
Environmental stewardship is not new for Wilsonart but the company has accelerated its efforts in the past few years. Led by Director of Sustainability, Rajesh Ramamurthy’s relentless pursuit of the FSC certification – not an easy task – it has compiled an impressive list of accomplishments and set ambitious future goals.
Laminate is a wood fiber product – another surprise to most; 70% by weight compared to 30% resins, and has been certified by SCS to contain a minimum of 20% post-consumer recycled content – the highest percentage of post-consumer content in the industry. The backing contains a minimum of pre- and post-consumer30% recycled content, and all Wilsonart laminates are Greenguard certified for low emissions.
The company is committed to its mission: serve the customer, serve the enterprise, serve the people, with respect for the future, but many of its efforts are driven by pragmatic business goals according to Bill DiGaetano, president, North America. “We began to concentrate on waste reduction and energy efficiency,” he states. “For example, we’re very excited by the potential of exploiting the methane gas coming off the nearby landfill. We’ve done a good job but if there’s $30-40 million sitting on the ground 3 ½ miles away, we can make a good common sense decision about reducing our energy use.”
DiGaetano believes that the current economic downturn presents Wilsonart a good opportunity to reset. “It is the perfect platform to pull the company into the future, for growth, profitability and more important, innovation. We’re looking at our baselines and we’re working on developing life cycle assessments that will define where we go.”
As Ramamurthy puts it, “We have just begun our journey.”