The ever-changing Princeton Sentry Ginkgo tree, with its woody attributes and ornamental appearance, has proudly stood in the Milliken Arboretum since the 1990s, a decade where sustainability came into greater focus for the world, and for Milliken. “Green” reminds us of many things, from sustainable building practices to the lush coloring of more than 3,000 green noble trees. No matter its context, green signifies meaningful environmental contributions and intentional growth here at Milliken, which we continue today through both our products and processes. Our goal in doing so is simple: to protect and build a better world for future generations. Discover how the 1990s served as a springboard for expanding Milliken’s almost century-long commitment to sustainability.
Prioritizing and protecting our environment
Milliken's Global Environmental Policy was formally adopted in 1990 and serves as a constant reminder of our dedication to environmental regulations, education and leadership. The policy defines our goal of zero waste generation to all media — land, air, water — to be achieved by continual improvement in all our operations, and today, we’re proud that Milliken diverts 96% of all solid waste from entering landfills.
Into the 2000s, Milliken began to partner with local landfills to capture landfill methane emissions for renewable energy, helping power Milliken plants, and ultimately, helping decrease a harmful greenhouse gas in the environment.
Contributing to sustainable building through our products
Buildings a better world through sustainability includes how our products help improve the daily well-being of consumers. This is a critical component to Milliken’s product development strategy, and has been for decades.
Building on the textile manufacturing excellence of the 1980s, Milliken introduced the floor covering industry’s first PVC-free modular carpet in 1986 — a sustainable structure which is still in place today. Since then, Milliken has kept more than 900 million pounds of PVC out of product and landfills. With this major stride, Milliken contributes to healthier environments for people who live and work in spaces with Milliken carpet.
Recognizing the importance of promoting green building practices, Milliken became a member of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) in 1998, and we continue to expand upon our sustainability journey through a holistic approach. Today, many Milliken facilities, including our global headquarters in Spartanburg, South Carolina, are registered for USGBC standard, LEED — an internationally respected sustainability standard for the design and construction industries. Additionally, the Chicago Milliken Floor Covering showroom was named the first-ever WELL Certified™ Platinum showroom in The Mart, home of the celebrated NeoCon commercial design show.
In 2017, Milliken was the first flooring manufacturer to reach the highest level of material transparency for floor covering, piloting the new LEED v4 MR Building Product Disclosure and Optimization - Material Ingredients credit (Option 3). Through this credit, which documents 99% of ingredients comprised in 99% of supplier materials, Milliken Floor Covering thinks differently about products through their entire lifecycle to help build healthier environments.
Arcadia, the first Milliken floor covering collection certified as compliant with LEED v4 MR Building Product Disclosure and Optimization - Material Ingredients credit (Option 3), is inspired by the organic flowing textures and intriguing paths found in nature.
Creating healthier interiors
Breathe by Milliken™
Creating a better world through sustainability also means reducing exposure to hazardous conditions and materials. One of the most important areas to do this is the home, and on surfaces where your family gathers to relax, like the living room sofa. Breathe by Milliken, one of our newest introductions in residential textiles, is the industry’s first fluorine-free performance fabric compatible with both natural and manmade fibers. Breathe fabrics use plant-based protective finishes to help create pet- and kid-friendly home environment with peace of mind for families.
The definition of sustainability is evolving, and we know that having once been sustainable doesn’t guarantee sustainability in the future. We must always be working to improve our actions; to broaden our definition of what sustainability is and means. We challenge ourselves every day at Milliken to push the limits of what sustainability and innovation can be in each and every market we serve so that we can create new possibilities for generations to come.
Explore the series by decade:
- The Changing Landscape of Innovation
- The Changing Landscape of Innovation: From Peaches to Progress
- The Changing Landscape of Innovation: Going Global in the ‘60s
- The Changing Landscape of Innovation: Digital State of Mind in the ‘70s
- The Changing Landscape of Innovation: Manufacturing Excellence in the ‘80s