Quick-Step flooring: always innovating in sustainability
Quality and innovation are the driving forces that made us a key player in the flooring industry. We don’t just continuously improve products in terms of their design and performance, but also in sustainability. Read all about our efforts in circularity, energy saving and emission control.
Pioneer in circularity
Sustainability in our DNA
Unilin – the group behind Quick-Step – has always been a pioneer in the circular economy. In 1960, we introduced flax straw – a bio-based waste stream from the flax industry – to produce particle boards. From that moment on, renewable raw materials have always been at the centre of our business: from flax straw to recovered wood.
A second life for wood
Continuously tapping into new raw materials is clearly not sustainable. That’s why the wooden core of Quick-Step laminate and timber flooring contains only recovered wood. This is wood collected from sawmills, sustainable forest management processes, roadside maintenance … that would otherwise be burned or discarded.
Maximal use of raw material
Since trees play a crucial role in combating climate change and stimulating biodiversity, we must treat them with care. That’s why we use slow-growing species, such as oak, only in the top layers of our timber flooring. The core of our laminate and timber flooring consists of either wood from fast-growing trees (spruce, hevea …) or a high-density fibreboard (HDF) made of recovered wood. For our wooden Variano and Intenso ranges, we created unique designs using small pieces of wood that would otherwise go to waste. That’s how we get the most out of every tree.
Sustainable forest management
Sustainable forest management involves the harvesting of trees with the protection of our planet and biodiversity in mind, preventing trees from being cut at a faster rate than new ones are being planted. We maximise the use of thinned wood, which is wood that needs to be harvested to keep forests healthy – such as small or bent trees that could hinder the growth of other trees – but is perfectly suitable for flooring. By using wood from sustainably managed forests, we’re sure our wood sourcing doesn’t contribute to deforestation.
Transparent about vinyl
Besides chalk – a material that is available in abundance – and internally recycled PVC, about a quarter of a Quick-Step hybrid vinyl floor is made of ‘virgin’ or new PVC, which is made from chlorine (common salt) and ethylene (crude oil). We are very aware that oil is a non-renewable resource, which is why we pay special attention to developing hybrid vinyl floors that can be used for a very long time, up to 25 years.
Focus on doing better
From the design phase on, we ask the right questions to optimise the sustainability of our floors. Which chemicals make recycling difficult? Which raw materials could be alternatives? How do we extend the lifecycles of our products? Our R&D team searches for better answers to these questions every day to keep improving the recyclability of our flooring.
Respect for our planet
Fighting global warming
In order to limit the consequences of global warming, challenging climate targets have been set in the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to a maximum of 1.5° C. Unilin – the group behind Quick-Step – has decided to take all possible measures to contribute to the most ambitious scenario of a 1.5°C by 2050. Our targets are being checked by Science Based Targets – a third-party initiative promoting best practices in this battle. Acting forcefully by 2030 is crucial, which is why we’ve set very ambitious short-term targets that will be followed by a more gradual path towards net-zero emissions in 2050.
Unilin has invested in two biomass plants to convert wood dust and non-recyclable wood waste into green energy. This energy serves our own production processes – the rest of it is made available to the general public only afterward. Furthermore, we rely on energy from windmills and solar panels. As a result, about half of our group’s production is powered by renewable energy to this day.
European Energy Efficiency Program
Unilin participates in the European Energy Efficiency Program with most of our Belgian production plants. This program ensures that all energy-saving measures are identified and implemented, and energy use is monitored and managed on a daily basis. Saving as much energy as possible and maximising the use of renewable energy are the main goals.
Clean indoor air
Low emission flooring
Most of your life takes place indoors, which is why the air quality in your home is so vitally important. Many factors have an effect on it: ventilation, candles, cleaning agents, and even the materials used in your interior, such as the flooring. We minimise the emissions of harmful substances by producing your flooring in-house as much as possible, which means we know exactly what materials it contains.
Minimal VOC emission
Thanks to our in-house production, we manage to minimise the emission of VOCs (volatile organic compounds), which are organic chemicals that have a high vapour pressure at room temperature. One example of a VOC is formaldehyde and is for example also emitted by wood. The formaldehyde emission of our laminate and timber flooring is negligible and 10 times lower than the EU standards – for our hybrid vinyl flooring, there is no formaldehyde detected. This is reflected in our A (timber) A+ (laminate, hybrid vinyl) and M1 (laminate, hybrid vinyl) labels.
Our labels and certifications
Unilin complies with all legally stipulated environmental and health standards. But being a key player in the flooring industry, we take our responsibility seriously and rise above regulations to prepare for tomorrow’s challenges as well. That’s why we go even further by voluntarily achieving various optional certifications.
A & A+The top category emission regulation certificate, serving as a recognition for very low emissions.
M1Proof that our flooring products do not release toxic substances and are odourless.
PEFCGlobally trusted trademark for timber products originating from sustainably managed forests.
EU EcolabelLabel of environmental excellence awarded to products and services meeting high ecological standards throughout their life cycles.
Nordic Swan EcolabelHighly regarded Scandinavian ecological label for products that meet high requirements for environmental standards throughout the life cycle.
Our efforts on the product level
We take specific environmental measures for our different products. Read all about how our laminate, timber and hybrid vinyl flooring is made.