Certifications. For a long time, they’ve been seen as a trivial tick of a box at best. Or, at worst, a confusing hindrance that can complicate a project. But we’re turning a page on what used to be just an inconvenient piece of paper, and Lachlan Howell, GH Commercial’s Corporate Sales & Sustainability Coordinator, weighs in on the strategic role certifications can play in the architecture and design industry.
“Our company wholeheartedly believes that certifications are not just an intangible form of compliance, rather opportunistic value of the highest order,” says Lachlan. “They provide integrity, transparency, and confidence for our customers and stakeholders alike. Today, certifications are much more than just a flashy piece of paper. It is the systematic change that is cultivated by the shifting significance of certifications and certifying partners, and the supplementary value that can be captured from an operational and commercial point of view.”
Any architecture and design professional will be familiar with the layered landscape of building and construction schemes and certifications. But while the complexity in this space might be challenging to navigate, it also offers a great benefit. “Uncovering and aligning with the right certifications can be pivotal to the success of an organisation’s strategy and provide additional value to its customers and stakeholders,” Lachlan points out. “At GH Commercial, we are challenging ourselves to design, manufacture and distribute innovative products with reduced environmental and social impacts – and aligning ourselves with the right types of certifications will be pivotal to future success.”
At the heart of this pursuit is a consideration of why they’re in business, what their mission and goals are, as well as what customers and stakeholders value. “These are the types of concepts that need to be raised before one can understand the types of certifications that are appropriate,” says Lachlan. “Particularly, as they come in various forms and cover elements like product, operations, transparency and sourcing of raw materials, to name a few. And it’s to understand how certifying a particular product or operation can create value.”
The company’s key framework and aspiration to ‘Believe in Better’ is anchored by a suite of independent and third-party verified certifications and schemes – such as Declare Red List Free or Global GreenTag. “We’ve already started our journey with Climate Active certified carbon neutral operations being achieved in 2021 and also now have a vast rollout of products that are certified Declare Red List Free, PEFC certified timber products, luxury vinyl planks and hybrid products certified Global GreenTag – GreenRate Level A and many more.”
Informed by the ambition to constantly uncover new avenues to minimise GH Commercial’s social and environmental impacts, the certifications actively contribute to the organisation’s commitment to constant improvement. The Declare programme – widely referred to as a “nutrition label” for building products – reflects the company’s commitment to transparency. Participation in the PEFC – the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification – enables GH Commercial to help promote sustainable forestry, as well as provide their customers with products made with wood that has been responsibly cultivated and sourced.
Similarly, on top of the Global GreenTag’s GreenRate Level A certification, some of their products are also certified under the Environmental Certification Scheme (ECS). Run by the Carpet Institute of Australia as an extension of the Australian Carpet Classification Scheme (ACCS) labelling scheme, ECS is concerned with the environmental performance of a carpet. The flooring-specific scheme offers four levels of standards – the Green Star Level 4 certificate providing maximum Green Star points.
With the pivotal role certifications play for GH Commercial, as well as its umbrella company – Mohawk Industries – it is no wonder that the organisation always strives to hold the most integral and suitable certifications – both for the domestic, and the international clients.
“The fact that our products are made in Australia and New Zealand – and Australian Made certified – adds an extra layer of confidence for our local clients. GH Commercial is part of a global network, adhering to local regulations – and we are trying to provide the best value in terms of sustainability certifications.” This elevated level of integrity Australian Made certification offers is further enhanced by the global prowess of Mohawk Industries - and its incredible benefit when it comes to certifications’ transference.
“Being able to transfer specific certifications across different regions is yet another fundamental consideration for a number of multinational or international organisations, specifiers, as well as clients,” Lachlan explains. “To be able to hold it in one region and then use it on a different project somewhere else is crucial to building an offering that achieves both the specifiers’ and client's objectives.”
GH Commercial’s commitment to the wider architectural community goes beyond Oceanic borders – and beyond flooring. With a strong stance on the strategic role environmental certifications can play for any business or industry professional, GH Commercial’s is certainly one of the most prominent voices in both the domestic and global sustainability discourse.