Through various key practises, Belgotex Floors has proven that sustainability can be profitable in the long-term.
The mistaken belief that sustainability comes with a hefty price tag and the tough economic climate poses a serious challenge to manufacturers and the environment alike.
Belgotex Floors has managed to turn the cost of major operational changes required to mitigate environmental impacts and halt climate change to their advantage in order to ensure long-term socio-economic benefits.
The company maintains its competitive advantage through continuous investment in the latest technology and equipment. These investments, used primarily for initiatives within the manufacturing and environmental sphere, facilitate improvements in operational efficiencies, product development and social upliftment.
Belgotex Floors adopted a resource efficiency and cleaner production strategy that resulted in significant cost-savings whilst simultaneously addressing the environmental and social pillars of the company’s triple bottom line. Their ongoing “Green Journey” not only saved them over R14.5 million rand in 2015 alone, but also earned them the coveted international “Green Tag” certification.
“The challenge for the flooring industry is to shift traditional operating paradigms to new eco-innovative sustainable ones,” says Kevin Walsh, Chief Operations Officer at Belgotex Floors.
By far the biggest contributor to the R9.5-million saving in 2015 on raw material costs, was the acquisition of a new R5-million recycling machine. This machine enables Belgotex Floors to recycle waste fibre and yarn back into production, effectively reducing their waste rates from their carpet production processes to close to zero. It also offers up to 20% energy savings, resulting in lower production costs and reduced CO2 emissions.
Installation of a R17-million photovoltaic (PV) solar power plant, coupled with a R2.4 million investment in energy-efficient LED lights and motion sensors, led to 1.4 million saving in electricity. Extensive plant upgrades to faster, more efficient equipment reduced operating expenses for LPG by a massive R1.56-million. By reducing their reliance on coal-fired energy, the plant offset around 2.5% of carbon (CO2) emissions, reducing them by 1 386 tons per annum. This is expected to reduce Belgotex Floors’ Carbon Tax liability by between 5 – 10%.
In addition, the company’s Rainwater Harvesting Initiative (RWH) in 2015 uses rainwater stored from the company’s roofs in non-critical applications. Together with switching their entire carpet production to dry manufacturing processes, the company achieved between 35 – 45% reductions in water consumption. This represented a saving of R388 000 in municipal utility bills and a massive R1.25 million reduction in effluent management fees.
In its seventh year of quantifying its carbon footprint, Belgotex Floors has shown significant reductions in its greenhouse gas emissions. Since 2009, the company has reported a 22% reduction or 3 173 tons CO2 avoidance since inception of solar plant which is equivalent to 269.198L of fuel oil, 401 tons of hard coal and 371.749m³ of natural gas.
Through these practises, Belgotex Floors has proven that sustainability is without a doubt profitable in the long-term, and as such takes pride in being able to offer a world of choice in sustainable flooring, but has made the world its first choice.