As a publicly held company with a strong code of conduct, we understand the importance of compliance across every aspect of our operations. Even more important, as stewards of a business that must compete in the marketplace on a daily basis, we appreciate the value and goodwill that comes with being an organization that always strives to do what is right for our stakeholders. Moreover, we continue to see the growing importance that many of our customers place on sustainable products and are committed to meeting their needs.
These factors come together in a three-pronged sustainability strategy that combines process, products and people:
Minimizing the environmental impact of our manufacturing and distribution operations through resource conservation and waste reduction.
Offering products across every flooring category that utilize either recycled or renewable inputs, as well as holding suppliers accountable for ensuring that products are manufactured in a responsible manner — one that respects both the labor and the environment behind them.
Affirming a belief that every aspect of our business benefits when we engage positively with people who are stakeholders in our success. Our intent is always to be a fair employer, an ethical business partner and an active corporate citizen in our communities.
Innovation is a key business strategy for Mohawk, and one that transcends all aspects of our sustainability strategy as well. We nurture innovation not only by investing in R&D activity, but also by fostering a culture where fresh thinking is rewarded and a healthy dissatisfaction with the status quo is encouraged. The result almost always leads to better and more differentiated products in the marketplace, as well as improved ways to operate our business.
In the product arena, innovation has led to such breakthroughs across all categories. For example, Continuum™ technology supports the growth of product collections made from up to 100 percent recycled polyester and has most recently been leveraged into the area rug category. Dal-Tile’s state-of-the-art Reveal Imaging® technology continues to reduce the margin for error in design and manufacturing, which in turn enhances material efficiency. In our global laminate markets, Impressive™ is a new product that uses new manufacturing processes to create an enhanced waterproof laminate product, which in turn yields a higher-quality, longer-lasting product. Also, Unilin’s patented Uniclic® installation technology, a glue-less and chemical-free system, reduces material use and air quality impact during product installation.
We also incorporate innovation into our approach to business processes. In recent years, for example, innovative dyeing technologies in our commercial carpet business have enabled us to meaningfully reduce the water intensity of that manufacturing phase. Innovation can even extend to how we manage our workforce. When we learned that 40 percent of our Carpet business employees did not have a primary care physician, we took a fresh approach and established Healthy Life Centers on site at our plants to provide wellness programs and help our employees manage chronic conditions. These initiatives are among countless examples of how innovative thinking permeates our business to further our sustainability objectives.
We evaluate our sustainability strategy on a continual basis. Two important criteria are how well the strategy performs through industry cycles and how well it can be exported around the world. In both cases, we have found our strategy to be both adaptable and flexible. Not only did the strategy serve us well through one of the worst industry downturns in history, but also, it has been an effective part of an aggressive level of business expansion since 2010. This expansion has taken us into new geographic markets and product categories and strengthened our manufacturing footprint.
Today, we have operations on five continents and sell products in more than 140 countries around the world. Within each market where we operate, there is significant variance among customer needs, labor practices and environmental compliance. By leveraging the systems and standards that we have honed in our legacy North American businesses and combining them with a flexible approach that can adapt to the unique needs of each local market, we are confident that this strategy will continue to ensure that our growth is accompanied by a commitment to sustainable operating principles.
The responsibility for ensuring the execution of our sustainability strategy involves management interaction at the highest levels of our Company. This starts at the Board level, where the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee maintains direct oversight of sustainability. At the operational level, our Sustainability Council coordinates the implementation of sustainability strategy. The Council comprises the President of Mohawk Industries, who also is a Company Director, the Presidents of our three business segments, our Chief Sustainability Officer and our Vice President of Corporate Sustainability. The Board of Directors receives updates from members of this Council on a regular basis.