Slow But Steady Wins The Race
By Wanda Jankowski, Editor-in-Chief
Just like the “overnight stars” who in reality have been working in show business for years before they hit it big and suddenly become discovered by the masses, the movement toward environment-friendly products and processes is steadily making progress, even though it may not be capturing headlines on a daily basis.
Some developments start at the top, with regulations or standards set in place by those with the power to effect great change. Think of the mandatory recycling programs in cities across the country that have become an unquestioned part of daily life.
Other developments begin with individuals who make the conscious choice to embrace eco-friendly processes and products.
Carnegie is still owned by the family who founded it in 1950. It develops textiles and wall coverings for residential and commercial applications. The company remains dedicated to its original principles, which include believing “there are no substitutes for innovation, service and integrity.”
Recently, Carnegie introduced Xorel, the first biobased high-performance textile in the world. It took seven years for the company to develop the propietary process, working with a European yarn-manufacturing partner.
The production of the plastic begins with sugar cane. Xorel offers a reduced carbon footprint over petroleum-based products and is third party certified, including Cradle to Cradle Certified Gold. There is no tradeoff in performance for enhanced sustainability. The textile lasts more than 30 years, does not absorb water, and is antibacterial and easily cleaned. Though not biodegradable, it can be returned to Carnegie for reuse. (For details, visit carnegiexorel.com.)
Rather than view Xorel as novelty or niche, Cliff Goldman, president, Carnegie, sees its development as only the beginning of a major trend. “In the next five years, we see the move to biobased product coming into this industry,” he states.
Though some pundits remain skeptical about environment friendliness becoming mainstream in the home textiles industry, they may not be taking into account individual examples of perseverance and progress (that also incorporate financial feasibility) and the concern for the welfare of the planet among those in power that are resulting in breakthroughs every day.
The days of passing the responsibility for what you produce and sell off to consumers (ex. “They aren’t demanding it, so why should we bother to do it.”) may be numbered. Most times, consumers have no knowledge of what or who is really involved in the making of the goods offered for sale. You do. The time has come to “man up” (or “woman up”) and seriously consider making business decisions and changes in areas over which you have control that incorporate enviromentally and socially sound processes.
It may be a slow and steady road to tred, but in the end, it was the tortoise that won the race, wasn’t it?