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Cradle-to-Cradle products. And now carbon neutral operations.

Posted by The NativeEnergy Team on Sep 02, 2010
Tags: business partners, corporate social responsibility

Since its founding in 1961, Designtex (then Design Tex) has been designing and delivering high-quality and creative textile products in the furniture and commercial interiors industry. The company created the first flame-retardant upholstery, then Berber, and next Mohair Plus fabrics; all the good and “cool” stuff you’d expect out of a New York based design firm. Their designs and products are found on Steelcase office chairs, on the walls at Marriott Hotels, and in many LEED-certified buildings. Customer satisfaction through innovation, extreme performance and a culture of sustainability has become their signature.

In the 1990s, Designtex was ahead of the curve in looking to develop compostable upholstery. They turned to famed architect William McDonough and his chemist partner, Michael Braungart, and in 1995 they introduced the Climatex LifecycleTM brand. They also established their Sustainable Initiatives product category to signal their total commitment, and since then their numerous innovations have gained them not only the first Cradle-to-Cradle certification for performance fabrics, but a host of accolades every year, including the Green Star Award by Interior Design Magazine at NeoCon 2008. They were the first company to market 100% post-consumer polyester from recycled water bottles, and recently introduced SonicTM Fabric—audible upholstery made from recycled audio cassette tapes.

To help the planet get “cool,” in 2007 Designtex went to 100% wind power, and in 2009 their Manager of Environmental Strategy, Deidre Hoguet, contacted her uncle, George Hoguet, at NativeEnergy, to discuss what would be involved in “going carbon neutral.” Designtex had been producing the highest-rated environmental products for more than 20 years, and now they wanted to further “walk their talk” on energy use and emissions. Designtex uses contract manufacturers, so the first big challenge was to define their emissions boundaries within the WRI GHG Protocol, and gather use data.  

George helped guide Designtex through the process, defining their boundaries and data that would be  needed to calculate their carbon footprint. Additionally, he was able to introduce one of NativeEnergy’s strategic allies, GREENandSAVE, which helped Designtex reduce its lighting costs more than 70% through its LED Saving Solutions division while also increasing brightness in its color testing areas. Designtex also chose to offset all shipments – inbound and outbound – which accounted for 50% of its footprint, thereby helping to build the Greensburg Wind Farm and support the Clinton County, New York landfill project.

Through these efforts, Designtex proves again that stylish fabric can be “cool.”

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