Our society is confronted with huge environmental challenges in terms of climate change, pollution, and resource depletion. The buildings and construction sector is responsible for 39% of global GHG emissions (UNEP, 2019) and 38% of the EU’s total waste generation (Eurostat, 2023). As a market leader in construction and interior materials, Unilin has the capability and the responsibility to be part of the solution. Our answer to these challenges, and what makes us a true changemaker, is not creating a single premium, sustainable product range. It is applying a circular mindset to all of our products and all of our production sites. Because we are present in the homes and workplaces of millions of people through our furniture and construction panels (kitchen cabinets, bathroom furniture, tables, walls, etc.), flooring solutions (laminate, parquet, LVT, sheet vinyl, carpet tiles with brands such as Quick-Step, Moduleo, and Pergo), and insulation materials (PIR insulation and insulated roof elements), we have a significant impact.

We use our innovative power to push boundaries in the transition to a circular economy for construction materials and interior design by developing and implementing technologies and take-back systems across our portfolio to recycle end-of-life (post-consumer) wood, wood-based panels, laminate floors, vinyl floors, and insulation materials into new panels, floors, and insulation materials. We share our innovations across the globe through our Intellectual Property division. Several of our pioneering innovations, such as the loose-lay, glueless flooring joint, are now implemented worldwide across our factories as well as those of our competitors through international licencing agreements. Where we are now:

—we are the largest wood recycler in Belgium with our chipboard production,
—we were the first in the world to recycle MDF boards at an industrial scale,
—we were the first to recycle vinyl floor waste at an industrial scale, and
—we are a pioneer in recycling rigid PIR insulation waste.

To be able to use recycled material as a raw material, we need enough pure waste material. Except for the wood recycling stream, the separate waste collection and sorting systems needed to recover the end-of-life materials of our products are not established, as there is no common recycling route yet. That is why we have now set up and are expanding our own logistics flow – our Recover programme – to recover and recycle end-of-life waste, job site waste, and cutting waste in close cooperation with our clients and waste processing partners.

While focusing on circularity, Unilin has also joined the global effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from our activities. So far, we have reached a level of 60% renewable energy across our operations, and we aim to further reduce our scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions in line with what’s needed to limit global warming to 1.5°C, as validated by the Science-Based Targets initiative.