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Creating sustainable products

by Tania Wannenburg
Van Dyck Certificate Jnl 2 14

Being visionary in terms of sustainability defines a company’s ability to create products that meet environmental and client demands.

Despite being the oldest carpet manufacturers in South Africa, Van Dyck Carpets is looking to the future with a company strategy of going green.

“We have a very strong emphasis on the environment and it’s a company characteristic to become more and more environmentally friendly,” says Dr. Mehran Zarrebini, CEO of Van Dyck Carpets. “One of the things we’ve recently done is to become ISO 14064 carbon certified; as such we have a very proactive, environmentally managed system within the company.”

Established in 1948, Van Dyck has evolved from manufacturing carpets to become a producer and distributor of various environment-friendly floor and wall coverings. It has upgraded its equipment and is now focused on developing new products, such as Ecolay and Instalay.

“This is a product range which can be used under wall-to-wall carpeting or laminate or wood flooring,” explains Dr. Zarrebini. “It’s essentially a cushion for carpeting, and it increases the longevity and performance of your carpet. It also improves the acoustics and provides insulation under hard and soft flooring.”

“We manufacture it from recycled car tyres.” he goes on to say. “Van Dyck purchases rubber crumb, which is used car tyres broken down into pellets or crumbs, which we then mix with latex to turn into an underlay.”

Instalay is the peel & stick version of Ecolay and can be used under various floor coverings, from broadloom carpets to carpet tiles, timber and laminate flooring to luxury vinyl flooring.

Instalay is exclusively manufactured by Van Dyck, under licence for Instafloor, a division of Instacoustic which is a UK-based company specialised in providing acoustic solutions for the building industry. Aside from the fact that both Ecolay and Instalay are environmentally sourced, the products also offer many other benefits.

“When you install Instalay, you can do it in a much more efficient and quicker time frame than you would if you were using normal underlay,” says Dr. Zarrebini. “In developed countries where labour is incredibly important, it can ensure that cost implications in terms of installation remain competitive. As a result, we see its usage on the rise in Australia, the UK and South Korea.”

Additionally, Instalay is becoming a standard for multinational hotels due to its efficient sound absorption. Dr. Zarrebini adds that he is often asked why his company is engrossed in producing environmentally sound products.

Instalay and Ecolay received highly commended awards as most innovative product in flooring and most environmentally flooring products at last year’s Awards function organised by Floors magazine in Sandton, reconfirming the value both products bring to the SA flooring industry.

The Importance of Going Green “At Van Dyck we look at global happenings and, certainly in South Africa, regulation is becoming more and more stringent,” he highlights. “We’ve seen the introduction of carbon emissions tax and, as such, we need to be able to anticipate those regulatory changes before they become mandatory. I think it’s crucial, as a company, to be able to look far ahead in order to manage those changes proactively.”

Van Dyck Carpets is proud to be a member of the Green Building Council of South Africa. The company recently became ISO14064 certified, and is accounting for its greenhouse gas emissions.

As Van Dyck continue to remain focused on their sustainability endeavours in 2014 and well into the future, they are also excited about turning to countries that neighbour South Africa for new opportunities.

New Opportunities “We are capitalising on developments in Tanzania, Botswana, Madagascar, Zimbabwe and Zambia,” says Dr. Zarrebini. “Although most of our business takes place in South Africa, we see significant opportunities available to us in these countries simply because we are able to offer our products for usage in infrastructure upgrades and commercial developments that take place.”

While he acknowledges that there can be challenges in doing trade within Africa, he remains optimistic.

“South Africa has solid infrastructure in place with excellent transport services, which means that movement of trade at the border is well maintained,” he explains. “But once you start moving beyond our borders, challenges arise. There are often difficulties faced at the border resulting in transport delays, and under-developed infrastructure.”

Van Dyck Carpets is looking forward to the company’s future with a continued focus on developing new products.

“In the long term, certainly enhancing our reputation is very important,” says Dr. Zarrebini. “I think it’s imperative for us to continue introducing different products and increasing our product portfolio.”

“In the past, we were very much limited but now we see a lot more opportunities in terms of different types of products for both hard flooring and soft floorings. Plus we’re excited about nurturing and establishing different relationships with our clients and suppliers.”

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