Mosa Tile Pushes Industry Sustainability Standards to New Heights

Mosa's Terra Tones tiles in a communal area of NineFifteen, a luxury apartment building in Los Angeles. Photography courtesy of Mosa.

Dutch tile manufacturer Mosa sets the bar high when it comes to sustainability. The 135-year-old brand became the world’s first and only ceramic tile company to gain full Cradle to Cradle® Silver certification in 2010. Cradle to Cradle® Silver requirements are rigorous; brands that aspire to this level of environmental and social accountability ensure that their products contain no known or suspected substances that can cause harm to the human body, the products contain materials that can be safely returned to nature or to industry, they are manufactured using at least 5% renewable energy and with a water stewardship plan in place, and, finally, the company actively conducts a social innovation project that positively impacts employees or investigate and positively impact any supply-chain social issues. Mosa has met or surpassed these standards across nearly all product lines, including new collections such as Murals Fuse and Mu.

Mosa's Terra Maestricht tiles in a Milanese rooftop garden. Photography courtesy of Mosa.

In the ten years Mosa has been on the road to sustainability/C2C, we have challenged our suppliers and our customers,” says Dorien van der Weele, sustainability manager at Mosa, “because a green label doesn’t necessarily endear a building or space to the public. Creating a well-liked, high-quality living environment is an important aspect of sustainability alongside energy use and other ‘hard facts.’ Our tiles stimulate the senses. They are attractive, have a pleasant feel, and contribute to the positive perception of spaces, which is decisive for their longevity.”

Hard facts are always nice to have, though, especially when they demonstrate that the payoff is well worth the effort. Mosa’s use of renewable power in product manufacture is an excellent example. While Mosa uses natural gas for thermal processes (crucial to achieve material transformation in tile production), this energy expenditure is offset by the tile’s relatively long lifespan of at least 50 years. All other processes use certified renewable energy generated by wind power. By implementing sustainable production methods, Mosa has reduced carbon emissions by 48% and particulate emissions by a staggering 91% in the last 12-15 years. These numbers could only be achieved through constant innovation, something the company keeps an attentive eye on.

Mosa's Terra Maestricht tiles at KPMG's Bristol, U.K. office. Photography courtesy of Mosa.

“We’ve done a very good job of producing ceramic tiles for the past 135 years but going forward we want to be known as suppliers of ceramic solutions for sustainable, circular spaces, too,” says van der Weele. “In order to explore solutions for the buildings of the future, Mosa works with new partners, exploring circular design methods, new materials technology, and possibly product-service business models. From these outreach efforts, we are drafting new roadmaps that include innovative opportunities and arduous performance objectives that benefit people and the planet.”

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