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Flooring Inspired by “Nature’s Carpet”

Mohawk Group, a leading commercial flooring company known for cutting-edge and innovative flooring solutions, is the first flooring manufacturer to achieve the Living Product Challenge Petal certification presented by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI). ILFI’s product certification program, which is an advocacy tool and promotes a philosophy that defines the most advanced measure of sustainability in product manufacturing today, recognized the company’s new Lichen modular plank carpet system.

But why another certification? Mohawk believes in meeting the world’s highest standards of sustainable design for commercial flooring. This drives the company’s products and the company’s business. It means supporting the ideals and goals of the most respected and ambitious sustainability organizations — because to do better, Mohawk believes we must all work together. These kinds of certification processes engage key stakeholders across the building materials industry in conversations about the importance of thoughtful design and responsible sourcing. This ultimately leads to innovative strategies that take product transparency and sustainable design to the next level, not just in the manufacturing of a floorcovering like Lichen, but for the built environment as a whole.

“Mohawk’s sense of responsibility to product transparency encourages us daily to look for ways we can meaningfully set the bar higher for sustainability through innovative products with reduced environmental and social impacts,” said George Bandy, vice president of sustainability at Mohawk. “By pursuing the ILFI Living Product Challenge certification with our new Lichen Collection, Mohawk is clearly demonstrating our commitment to believe in better in the way that we create flooring, right down to the product’s most elementary aspects.”

Mohawk Group commissioned Jason F. McLennan, of McLennan Design and founder of the Living Product Challenge, to design the Lichen Collection. Inspired by the idea of “Nature’s Carpet,” the design team looked at natural assemblages of rich multi-hued, multi-textured lichens from extreme climates as the foundation for the collection. Just as lichens play a regenerative role in their ecosystem, the Lichen Collection is on track to give more resources back to the environment than it uses during its entire life cycle.

The Challenge is comprised of seven performance categories called Petals: Place, Water, Energy, Health & Happiness, Materials, Equity and Beauty. Petal recognition is given to products that satisfy the requirements in three categories of the Living Product Challenge. Lichen met the Water, Health & Happiness and Place Petals.


The Living Product Challenge requires a product to have a net positive impact, or handprint, on resources. The handprint is a measure of environmental impact and reinforces the goal of giving back more than we take. For the Water Petal, Mohawk sought to create a positive impact by developing a strategy for water savings that will exceed the 1 million gallons per year used for Lichen’s manufacturing. To achieve that goal, Mohawk engaged in a three-year conservation strategy with Morehouse College in Atlanta to replace the showerheads in its dormitories. Though only 15 would be necessary to meet the water-saving needs for Lichen’s handprint, Mohawk retrofitted a total of 140 showerheads with low-flow fixtures.


To meet the net positive material health imperative, Mohawk conducted an inventory research of all of the raw materials that are in Lichen’s supply chain to verify the absence of any red-listed chemicals. Additionally, Lichen is manufactured at Mohawk’s Glasgow, Va. carpet facility, which is located in biodiverse and environmentally robust surroundings that allow the employees to experience nature in their daily lives. Like many Mohawk facilities, this location also has an on-site Healthy Life Center, which is part of the company’s wellness programs. The center offers health coaches to guide associates toward achieving their fitness goals.


In achieving the Place Petal, Mohawk looked for ways to create a healthy coexistence between the manufacturer and the natural environment. The company maintains an apiary with eight hives to support the local bee population. The hives are kept by one of Mohawk’s tufting associates who has been a beekeeper for more than 25 years. Mohawk is also improving the greater ecosystem by joining Businesses for the Bay (Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay) as a founding member. And finally, Mohawk will be donating a percentage of the profits from Lichen to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy for the protection and preservation of the 2,200-mile trail.

“Lichen isn’t a singular, isolated accomplishment for our talented design team, but a sign of more offerings on the way,” said Jackie Dettmar, vice president of design and product development for Mohawk Group. “Lichen has been a strategic opportunity to introspectively look at different ways we can have a net positive impact on people and the environment, leaving a handprint as we seek to touch the built environment like never before.”

For additional information on Mohawk Group’s Living Product Challenge Petal Certification, please contact Mohawk Industries sustainability manager Rami Vagal at [email protected] or 706-624-2434.

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