Van Dyck Carpets, based in Durban, becomes the first South African manufacturing company to achieve the Carbon Trust Standard for Carbon
Van Dyck Carpets, based in Durban has been in operation since 1948 and is the oldest carpet manufacturer in South Africa. The company currently employs 240 people.
Van Dyck’s products are distributed from the company’s main warehouse situated at the manufacturing facility in Durban. A satellite warehouse located in Cape Town handles distribution to the Western Cape areas. Central sales offices are located in Johannesburg and Cape Town supported by a national network of sales forces located in major cities throughout South Africa.
The company’s carbon emissions predominantly come from the use of electricity and steam, which combined, account for 84% of the Van Dyck’s footprint. The finishing process of the products requires a large amount of electricity and steam, and over the past few years Van Dyck has focused its efforts on becoming more efficient at using these resources. Investment has been made into a range of initiatives including staff training to maximise operational and maintenance efficiency and process controls.
Whilst the use of paraffin is currently a relatively small proportion of the overall emission profile, the use of paraffin as a fuel oil has increased over the years, as Van Dyck Carpets has increased the production of acoustic underlays manufactured from recycled rubber (truck tyres). These products are now exported to 45 countries around the globe and demand for this product is increasing year-on-year due to the environmental characteristics of the product.
The Carbon Trust is widely considered as the world’s leading independent certifier of organisational carbon footprint reduction. Showing off our sustainability credentials gives us a commercial advantage that helps us to differentiate ourselves from the competition and win more business, especially from large corporates. But a lot of businesses make positive claims about their environmental performance, even if they are doing the bare minimum. So it really helps to tell our customers that our achievements are certified by the Carbon Trust, an independent organisation with a global reputation.
In 2013, Van Dyck Carpets decided to make improvement of its carbon performance a corporate priority. The company set a target of 5% year-on-year emission reductions. Carbon issues were also given senior level support. The CEO has accountability for the company’s carbon performance and in turn reports to the board, creating an important company-wide mandate to deliver on carbon reduction activities across every area of the organisation.
Importantly, the company also allocated appropriate internal resource to help drive activity forward. A dedicated Safety, Health, Environment and Quality (SHEQ) officer, alongside a carbon footprint analyst was appointed to help capture information on the company’s carbon inventory, whilst also implementing significant efficiency and operating practices across its operations.
In addition to meeting carbon reduction targets the company set itself, Van Dyck was also experiencing increasing demand from its customers to not only offer environmentally-friendly products, but also demonstrate what action the company was taking to reduce the environmental impact of its operations.
In May 2015, the culmination of Van Dyck’s carbon reduction activities led to it becoming the first South African manufacturing company to achieve the Carbon Trust Standard. As an international mark for excellence recognising success in reducing carbon emissions, the company joined over 130 companies internationally which currently hold the Carbon Trust Standard for Carbon. Van Dyck was acknowledged for taking a best practice approach to measuring and managing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and achieving real reductions year-on-year. For Van Dyck this meant the reduction of GHG emissions by 21% over the past two years.
As part of its efforts to become a leader on environmental responsibility not only within its sector but across South Africa as whole Van Dyck decided to go for the Carbon Trust Standard for Carbon. The company viewed the Carbon Trust Standard as a way to demonstrate, through third party certification, that its approach to sustainable manufacturing and on-going efforts of reducing the company’s impact on the environment is being successful.
The Carbon Trust Standard for Carbon certification has created a credible platform to allow Van Dyck Carpets to share information about the company’s environmental performance with confidence to all its stakeholders.
The certification process also helped to identify a few areas that the company could focus on to make its results even better.
Achieving the Carbon Trust Standard for Carbon has also led to Van Dyck Carpets gaining exposure across a number of key media titles in South Africa and internationally.