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Mohawk, Humanscale Breaking New Ground in Regenerative Product Design in the Living Product Challenge and World's Leading Product Certification Companies Partner to Accelerate Living Products

Original Publication: 3BL

The Living Product Challenge (LPC), introduced in 2015, is growing and scaling thanks to the commitment of courageous companies who are redesigning products and processes to work within natural and social systems, it was announced at Neocon World Trade Fair today. Neocon exhibitors Mohawk and Humanscale both debuted products created under the Living Product Challenge. Additionally, the International Living Future Institute (ILFI) announced partnerships with leading product certification companies, growing the ecosystem for companies who are exploring the outer edges of regenerative manufacturing and design.

“Our vision for the Living Product Challenge is not only to redesign products and manufacturing so that they work as elegantly as any system found in nature, but also to make it easy for manufacturers to successfully create Living Products,” said Amanda Sturgeon FAIA, CEO of ILFI. “By partnering with leading certification companies, we are making the barrier to entry more accessible for visionary manufacturers.”

New Living Products in the Marketplace at Neocon

“Mohawk and Humanscale -- who are part of the LP50 – the vanguard of regenerative manufacturing are both demonstrating the power of possibility with new Living Product introductions,” said James Connelly, director of LPC for the ILFI.

Mohawk Group Debuts the Lichen Collection, designed by Jason F. McLennan

Mohawk Group has received Petal Certification for Water, Place, and Health & Happiness in the Living Product Challenge for the Lichen Collection, a modular carpet tile product backed by the company’s EcoFlex NXT backing. Designed by ILFI Founder and Board Chairman Jason F. McLennan, the Lichen Collection incorporates both biophilia and biomimicry, and is designed to be manufactured within the water balance for the site of the factory in Calhoun, Ga.

The company has also showcased their social responsibility by offsetting the product’s water footprint through a water handprint at Morehouse College in Atlanta, where Mohawk invested in upgrades to plumbing fixtures to achieve water efficiencies on campus. Finally, Mohawk is donating a portion of product revenue to habitat preservation and restoration through the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, a protected natural resource with a trailhead that is visible from the company’s design center.

“In partnering with Jason McLennan, we knew we wanted to create more than something stylish and sustainable. We understood our duty to envision and manufacture something that would help take us along this continued journey to more sustainable design and business practices, said Jackie Dettmar, Mohawk Group vice president of design and development. “This isn’t a singular, isolated accomplishment for our talented design team, but a sign of more offerings on the way. 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 positive ‘handprint’ as we seek to touch the built environment like never before.”

Humanscale Debuts the World Chair in Partnership with Bureo

“Too often we get caught in the trap of thinking in terms of trade-offs. And one of the ways in which the Living Product Challenge can have significant impact is by proving that products don’t have to make compromises – products can achieve a true, net positive social, environmental and financial impact,” said Connelly. “With that in mind, we recently presented the Living Product Challenge Manufacturer’s Visionary Award to Humanscale, a company that courageously pursued full LPC certification for its most complicated products. Now they are working to make their entire product line red list free, meaning that they will work with their supply chain to ensure that every ingredient that goes into their products is nontoxic.”

At Neocon, Humanscale is introducing the World Chair, made in partnership with Bureo, who is supplying NetPlus, a material made by recycling discarded commercial fishing nets.”

For more on Humanscale’s endeavors, see their commitment to the LPC in this video.

Living Product Challenge Partners with Leading Certifiers

“The LPC is asking manufacturers to do something they may have never done before which can be both scary and exciting,” said James Connelly. “Our goal is to create an ecosystem of services that makes it easier for manufacturers to explore the possibilities, and with that in mind, we have partnered with leading certification companies and are working with them to streamline our process as we iterate on the LPC standard and create a common understanding of what it means, for example to design and manufacture a Net Positive product.”

Certification partners include:

WAP Sustainability,who provide both technical and strategic competencies, particularly in the area of life cycle analysis and data.

ToxServices, experts in toxicology, risk assessment and comparative hazard assessment.

GreenCircle Certified, who are known for a rigorous evaluation process provides independent verification that claims of sustainable aspects of products and operations are valid.

SCS Global Services, who provide third party certification of sustainability claims, with a particular emphasis on Net Positive certification for LPC.

“We applaud ILFI’s collaborative approach to developing a harmonized standard that considers industry leading sustainability programs that manufacturers are already engaged in”, said William Paddock, Managing Director of WAP Sustainability. “Manufacturers can leverage their existing efforts with the Living Product Challenge and move from analytics to action by pursuing imperatives such as red list free, net positive impact categories, and creating positive handprints.”

“The Living Product Challenge drives the building industry to re-imagine the design and construction of products. Through this forward-thinking product certification program, companies can demonstrate their leadership and commitment to sustainability. SCS is proud to be a certification partner for ILFI,” says Stanley Mathuram, SCS Global Services, Vice President.

About the International Living Future Institute

The International Living Future Institute is a hub for visionary programs. The Institute offers global strategies for lasting sustainability, partnering with local communities to create grounded and relevant solutions, including green building and infrastructure solutions on scales ranging from single room renovations to neighborhoods or whole cities. The Institute administers the Living Building Challenge, the most rigorous and ambitious building performance standard. It is the parent organization for Cascadia Green Building Council. It is also home to Ecotone Publishing, a unique publishing house dedicated to telling the story of the green building movement's pioneering thinkers and practitioners.

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Linda Brown

Linda Brown

Senior Vice President