At a time when the world is struggling to bring down CO2 emissions, a yarns company of leading carpet group Beaulieu International Group is offering a new yarn that claims to bring down the usual emission from the manufacturing process to a mere 25 per cent, reports Jozef De Coster
Beaulieu Yarns, a company of the leading carpet group BIG (Beaulieu International Group, with a turnover in 2018 of $2.3 billion), claims to be the first yarn producer worldwide to offer a polyamide 6 yarn of which the CO2 emission is only 25 per cent of the usual emission.
Now the question is: how will carpet manufacturers react? Are they willing to pay a higher price for a carpet yarn of which the unique selling proposition is that CO2 emissions are a lot lower?
Being a ecological pioneer, Beaulieu Yarns takes a commercial risk. Everybody knows the tough message of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)-the worldwide emission of CO2 has to be halved by 2030, in order to restrict global warming to a maximum of 1.5 �C. However, the purchasing behaviour of most businesses has not yet changed. If for a certain quality of yarns a company has a better price than its competitors, this company will mostly get the order.
But things are changing. In the near future, products with lower CO2 emissions will have an edge. Today, some companies already reward employees who contribute to lower CO2 emissions. Early December 2018, oil company Shell announced that the salary of 1,200 of its highest paid employees will in future depend on their performance in reducing CO2 . Shell took this decision under pressure of the action group Climate Action 100+. This action group is currently pressing more than 160 big CO2 polluters to develop a climate policy and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The PA6 carpet yarn with reduced CO2 emission (up to -75 per cent) that Beaulieu Yarns launched in July 2018, stressing that it's the first biomass-balance polyamide yarn for carpets, is called EqoBalance PA6. The researchers of the company tested the new yarn extensively to be sure that it performs as well as the conventional PA6 yarn.
T�V S�D certification
Users of electricity who are buying 'green energy' don't expect that the electricity they get from the grid originates directly from solar panels and wind mills. In the same way, the carpet manufacturer who's buying EqoBalance can't expect that the particular yarn he gets is made of 'green' polymers.
However, he can be sure that the German testing, certification and inspection specialist T�V S�D, who's cooperating with Beaulieu Yarns, won't give a EqoBalance certification to
any product (as certified in accordance with its Renewable Resources standard CMS71) if not the right quantity of 'green' polymers, based on certified biogas and bionaphta, has
been used to replace fossil raw materials. Customers of Beaulieu Yarns have a choice between two solutions: 100 per cent EqoBalance Premium (made of 100 per cent renewable raw materials) and 25 per cent EqoBalance.
A detailed life cycle assessment (LCA) shows that one kilo of conventionally produced PA6 carpet yarn has a Global Warming Potential of 8kg CO2 , to compare with 5kg CO2 equivalent for EqoBalance yarn and 2kg CO2 equivalent for EqoBalance Premium.
How can the yarn customer know that the LCA and resulting marketing communication of Beaulieu Yarns is correct? Therefore, Beaulieu Yarns refers to an independent third party. Environdec, with headquarters in Stockholm, delivers a validated and certified 'Environmental Product Declaration' regarding "the Bulked Continuous Filament (BCF)
PA6 yarn of Beaulieu Yarns, used for the production of carpets for domestic, contract and automotive applications."
Researcher Femke Faelens of Beaulieu Yarns stresses that the EqoBalance business model has important advantages for the successful launching of a new 'green' yarn. This yarn can immediately be produced enjoying economies of scale; the existing equipment can be used; thanks to third party certification, there are no discussions about the biomass feedstock; since the green and the conventional yarn have the same performance, immediate replacement of the conventional PA6 yarn is possible; the green yarn is also recyclable in the same installations as other PA6 carpets.
The Beaulieu International Group is trying hard to reduce its CO2 emissions in various ways. One of those has been to set up a global multimodal logistics platform which uses waterway transport to reduce Beaulieu's dependency on polluting truck transport. The successful programme reduced the company's container transportrelated CO2 emissions by 36 per cent in 2017 and is scheduled to achieve a further 55 per cent reduction in the coming years.
Beaulieu Yarns participated in 2018 in some competitions, hoping to win an award with the EqoBalance yarn thanks to following argumentation: "We offer our customers in the contract, automotive and residential carpet market a drop-in alternative solution, delivering the same quality and performance as the fossil-based equivalents, and enabling them to contribute to a sustainable future through less use of fossil resources and reduced greenhouse gas emissions."
The Belgian company hit the bull's eye winning an international Green Product Award as a British Flooring Innovation Award. However, the Gold Award in the Flooring Innovation competition in the category 'Environmental awards' went to Carpet Recycling UK. This organisation, which was set up in 2008 by industry leaders, has facilitated the diversion of one million tonnes of waste carpet in its first decade- equivalent to approximately 400 million sq m of carpet.