In 1979, long before sustainability was a buzzword, the flooring industry leader Bona introduced waterborne hardwood floor finishes, providing an alternative to the typical toxic urethane-based finishes. Recently, Bona achieved zero waste manufacturing at their North Carolina, USA facility. Parvati Magazine spoke with Randy Kostick, director of supply chain and operations at Bona US. We explore the roots of Bona’s commitment to green business, eco flooring and ongoing environmental sustainability.
Parvati Magazine: Why are waterborne finishes important? What are the core values inspiring your sustainability and how have those values influenced product decisions?
Randy Kostick: Waterborne finishes bring safety and durability to hardwood floors. Today, many hardwood floor installers are still using highly toxic products such as acid-cured finishes. Waterborne finishes are low in VOCs and safer for the installer and the home with the same level of quality and high durability.
Our Swedish heritage inspires our commitment to sustainability. It is core to our business. Every product we innovate we look for the best way to marry sustainability with efficacy.
PMAG: Your Monroe, NC facility is now ISO 14001 verified as zero waste disposal; recycling, repurposing or reusing all materials. What were some of the biggest challenges Bona faced in reaching this level of manufacturing sustainability?
RK: Achieving zero waste in our Monroe facility took time. The biggest hurdle was finding partners that would work with us on ensuring we were 100% zero waste. It took a few cycles but with the right partners and internal protocols in place, as of December 2017, we confirmed that all materials at the Bona facility in Monroe will be recycled, repurposed or reused. This includes waste water, paper, plastic and any hazardous material that may result from the manufacturing of Bona products.
PMAG: Since starting as a simple shop in Sweden in 1919, Bona has become a leader in floor care in 70 countries. How has the Bona commitment to sustainability and environmental awareness augmented your growth?
RK: We take a balanced approach to our business so that all aspects of our business will thrive. Because of our Swedish heritage, treating people well and caring for our planet are core to our business. The profit we generate enables us to live these values in everything we do. Our commitment to sustainability and the environment is balanced with keeping our company healthy and caring for our staff.
PMAG: Can you tell us about the green building initiatives at your new Limburg, Germany distribution plant?
RK: The new distribution center in Limburg, Germany is Bona’s biggest facility investment ever, with almost 10,000 square feet of space. The new facility doubles the capacity for handling and distributing goods in order to support Bona’s plans for growth.
The new center is equipped with solar panels offering power for the facility as well as supplying power back to the public grid. Other green features include a green roof, heat pumps for heating and charging e-bikes and cars, and an electric shuttle for transporting goods from the nearby adhesive plant. Bona’s Limburg Distribution Center is expected to be to be fully operational in early 2018.
PMAG: What wisdom can you share with other businesses wanting to achieve more environmental sustainability?
RK: One of the key learnings we have realized that it’s the little things that make big impact. For Bona, achieving zero waste at our Monroe facility was a huge milestone. Yet it all started with small changes. Early on we installed new lighting, motor controllers, and optimized heating and cooling systems to significantly decrease the building’s environmental footprint. These changes inspired us to keep going, eventually meeting our goal of zero waste. Small steps make a difference.
Randy Kostick is director of supply chain and operations at Bona US. Throughout his career Randy has been known as a teacher, in business and human relations. A long time Bona employee, Randy spearheaded the company’s recent green business initiative to move to zero waste at its Monroe, North Carolina facility and is active in Bona’s commitment to ISO 14001 certification, sustainability and minimizing environmental impact.