Steve Lubowinski (right), Senior Research Fellow and Materials Engineer at Wilsonart, collaborates with Vince DaSilva, Production Manager, Teknion (left).
Steve Lubowinski, Senior Research Fellow and Materials Engineer at Wilsonart, understands that true sustainability is a complex conversation.
Conversations about sustainability must encompass not only an understanding of what is driving the need, but also an understanding of the correct questions to ask. In the realm of transparency reporting, certiﬁcation bodies such as the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), International Living Future Institute (ILFI) and Health Product Declaration Collaborative (HPDC) are driving the conversation and expectations around health and wellness within the built environment.
These groups believe having industry reveal their products material makeup will ensure better health for the planet and people. This is a timely move that pushes sustainability forward, but also poses some risk to companies such as Wilsonart who are suppliers to furniture manufacturers like Teknion.
"I am proud of our part in moving the conversation forward one material at a time."
- Steve Lubowinski
Wilsonart is a North American-based manufacturer that creates high-performance engineered surfaces for use in the office, residential, education, healthcare, hospitality and retail markets. While Wilsonart strives to adhere to the built environment certiﬁcation standards, it is important that its competitive position not be compromised.
Initially, furniture manufacturers simply demanded that suppliers provide their complete ingredient lists for use in certiﬁcation purposes. Suppliers can be reluctant to do this as it can reveal proprietary formulae to their competitors.
To balance the concerns of the supply chain with the evolving expectations of an industry that now expects material transparency, as well as health and wellness certiﬁcation, Teknion and Wilsonart reexamined the way they approach product ingredient declarations. Bringing Wilsonart into the discussion enabled it to better understand Teknion’s objectives for product declarations and to collaborate on ways to meet those goals while protecting proprietary information. The result of these conversations has been a more holistic view of a product and its constituent parts.
Looking at the big picture enables Teknion and Wilsonart to achieve something quite signiﬁcant in terms of transparency reporting – to provide disclosure of a product’s ingredients, without broadly revealing the exact formulae for a supplier’s component parts. Within this reporting model everyone wins. Wilsonart can stay competitive and local in an industry where off-shore suppliers with more lax standards are vying for space and Teknion can help its customers receive the relevant information required to achieve faster and easier certiﬁcations
Doug Hietkamp, Director of Sustainability for Teknion, explains,In shifting our focus from individual component parts to the whole product, we have cut through the complexity of this conversation and made it simpler for our customers to achieve health and wellness certiﬁcation.
Steve echoes Doug's sentiment,I am proud of our part in moving the conversation forward one material at a time.