Vorwerk has been manufacturing carpet since 1883. SOPHISTICATION, CREATIVITY AND INTELLIGENCE
Vorwerk has been manufacturing carpets since 1883. The small factory of yore has become an enterprise operating on a global scale. And out of the craft to design high-grade textile floor coverings has grown a responsibility for ecological, economic and social balance.
Sophistication, creativity and intelligence revolving around the floor as central theme – they make Vorwerk Carpets one of the leading international suppliers of high-quality carpets for the private and commercial sector. One of the decisive factors: the design. Design is form, function and colour. But not only that: Design is materials and construction, too. The collections encompass a multitude of different models, address specific needs at business locations, and display even luxurious creations produced custom-made upon request. Vorwerk regularly exhibits collections and special editions which have arisen in co-operation with internationally renowned architects, designers and artists. These and other projects form the cultural substance that makes up the brand, the driving, creative force behind Vorwerk Carpets.
Before any company-wide decision is made, at Vorwerk Carpets a priority is given to the question of ecologically accountable, of sensible action. Innovation, quality and a combined ecological and social balance are the basis for all activities – fully in alignment with “Eco Balance”, the programme agenda at Vorwerk with which we bring the different aspects of sustainability into a symbiotic context. Essential towards accomplishing this are our years of know-how in producing and selecting our materials for production. Vorwerk Carpets fulfils the highest international standards for quality and banks on novel, low-emission and resource-conserving technologies and methods within the entire product-creation process – for instance, the fully automatic dye dosage and batch preparation station, or the cold-dyeing method.
Yet not only production pursues this demand for sustainability; the products do so as well. That our TEXtiles technology refrains from using bitumen and PVCs is just one example. The comprehensive quality heralded in the new LIFE BALANCE label is ensured via strict regular inspection control by gui-lab – an association of well-known independent environmental institutes. gui-lab certifies compliance with the highest standards and guarantees the product attributes “tested for harmful substances”, “tested for presence of fine dust”, and “recommended for people suffering from allergies” vested in the “Life Balance” label. We have ourselves audited regularly by international auditing councils. The result: Vorwerk Carpets has even been certified with the coveted “Green Label Plus” from the USA.
Vorwerk Carpets. Eco Balance.
Vorwerk Carpets thinks and lives in alignment with a systematic programme objective through Eco Balance. It places ecological, social and economic aspects regarding sustainability in a symbiotic context.
Taking this thematic content as a basis, Vorwerk Carpets defines new international standards and enacts them effectively for every product, every process, every member of staff and, in short, for everybody. A well-balanced claim to sustainability is the initial starting point and target all in one.
Because balance is important
The continuing, counterweighted enactment of this programme objective creates a sustainable balance: Vorwerk Carpets Eco Balance. Innovation and experience are in consonance with one another. Research, studies and analysis along with acquired know-how in practice are the ongoing regulative factors in Vorwerk Carpets Eco Balance. The underlying constant in this process: Vorwerk Carpets has been exercising a pioneering role for more than 20 years.
Confirmed rather than merely promised
Those who want to remain in balance have to move. That’s why Vorwerk Carpets regularly subjects itself to international audit committees on a proactive basis. The result: Carpets from Vorwerk bear all the fundamental German ‘eco-product’ labels, numerous internationally renowned seals such as HQE and Green Label, as well as certificates with a relevance to social factors and health. “Today Vorwerk Carpets is already laying the foundation for a comprehensive sustainability status quo oriented towards the future on which research and further development can be based, whereas the very first projects of this kind are just starting to be enacted on the market,” according to Dr Andreas Winkens, managing director of GUI, the Society for Environmental and Indoor Space Analysis.
Vorwerk Teppich – Legendary green
As far back as 1994 Vorwerk Carpets already used the slogan “Our logo has always been green” to formulate an orientation that conforms more than ever with today’s spirit of the times. At Vorwerk Carpets, the issue of ecologically correct, of sensible action stands first and foremost above each corporate decision. “In contrast to many other suppliers, we have always placed great weight on dealing responsibly with society. This applies within all production processes, fully in the sense of Vorwerk Carpets Eco Balance. Nowadays we enhance this belief with a ‘hands-on’ programme objective. Vorwerk Carpets Eco Balance is in effect for all of our business sectors, is developed further on a continual basis, and is transposed to apply for all products,” says Johannes Schulte, CEO at Vorwerk Carpets.
Alongside ecological factors, social and economic components equally define Vorwerk Carpets Eco Balance. Sincere commitment towards charitable institutions such as “SOS-Kinderdörfer”, relief villages for children all over the world, are an expression of social accountability to which the company obligates itself each and every day. At home, the same goes for family and health management for its own staff.
A balanced product: FreeSCALE “Mesh”
The model “Mesh” from the innovative Vorwerk carpet-tile collection FreeSCALE represents the concrete enactment of Vorwerk Carpets Eco Balance. Developed by Hadi Teherani, the line opens up new horizons for interior architecture in terms of shape, function and design. “Mesh” displays an exciting free-style form without any right angles. Sophisticated tufted varieties, a differentiated colour scale and the basic figure itself enable the greatest diversity of options in designing. “Mesh” can be laid in an ‘open form’. The contour of this textile floor covering remains free to style, allowing it to fit in excellently in today’s modern architecture at business-site ‘objects’. Vorwerk FreeSCALE is one of the first design tile collections developed on the basis of the new Vorwerk TEXtiles technology. TEXtiles is a particularly environmentally conscionable coating process that can replace the PVC or bitumen coatings customarily used for tiles until now. The innovation thereby is a self-laying backing made of polyolefin together with a strongly needled and calendered polyester fabric, which is fully recyclable. In addition, these tile products are manufactured with a particular focus on conserving resources and environmental suitability. They are comprised of a 60 % share of recycled material while utilising carbon-neutral energy for their production. Above and beyond these factors, TEXtiles provide a definite plus point for health. Products manufactured using this process have been awarded the “LIFE BALANCE” seal issued by gui-lab – an association of well-known independent environmental institutes.The products are tested for harmful substances and for fine dust and are recommended for people with allergies.
The TEXtiles line is one current example of how Vorwerk Carpets Eco Balance is already being concretely applied these days in products from Vorwerk Carpets. Nearly all carpet collections are conceived, created and produced under aspects pertaining directly to Eco Balance.
For more information on the topic of Eco Balance, please refer to the LIFE Balance Report 2013:
High concentrations of fine dust in the air have been shown to be a health hazard, as they trigger allergic reactions. Allergy sufferers, and health-conscious consumers generally, are therefore strongly urged to protect themselves more effectively against toxic fine dust in the house.
Tested by GUI
Since 2006, manufacturers have been able to have their products tested by the GUI (Gesellschaft für Umwelt- und Innenraumanalytik) in Mönchengladbach, in a recently devised procedure designed to determine the properties of a product in reducing fine dust. Vorwerk was the first company in the floor covering industry to send its carpets for testing. The tests showed that Vorwerk carpets “have an outstanding capacity for tying up fine dust, and succeed in reducing toxic concentrations of fine dust in the air of a room to a significant degree – in comparison with hard flooring, by more than 50 percent.”
Carpets reduce fine dust by half
As long ago as 2005, the Deutscher Allergie- und Asthmabund [German Allergy and Asthma Society] commissioned the environmental institute GUI to investigate fine dust pollution in indoor surroundings. The published results of the highly regarded GUI study, based on the analysis of more than 100 households, showed that where there was a smooth flooring the concentration of fine dust in the air was 62.9 µg to the cubic metre. This is actually higher than the statutory permissible maximum for fine dust in the air outside, which has been set at 50 µg per cubic metre on a maximum of 35 days in the year. In carpeted rooms, on the other hand, the concentration of fine dust was found to be 30.4 µg per cubic metre, or less than half! This is a particularly significant fact, seeing that people on average spend more than 90 percent of their life in closed rooms.
Going directly to the customer with superior products
The firm Vorwerk & Co. KG was founded in Wuppertal, Germany in 1883. Over the course of 130 years of company history the erstwhile carpet factory evolved into a broadly aligned global corporate group. Vorwerk has remained a family-owned enterprise to this day.
The direct sale of high-quality products has been the core business at Vorwerk since 1930. The spectrum of products includes household appliances (the Kobold vacuum cleaner and Thermomix food processor), as well as high-grade cosmetics from JAFRA. The portfolio is rounded off by the akf Group (bank for leasing and financial services), HECTAS building-facility services and Vorwerk Teppichwerke, the carpetworks. Superior products and special access to the clientele are common to all of these fields of business and are what set Vorwerk apart. Over 611,000 people are active for Vorwerk worldwide. Of those, more than 31,500 men and women as advisory consultants in the household appliance sector, around 568,000 consultants at JAFRA Cosmetics, and a full-time staff of over 21,500. Vorwerk generated business revenues amounting to EUR 2.277 billion (2009) and operates in 60 countries.
A down-to-earth company writes history
Innovation has a tradition at Vorwerk & Co. Since its creation in 1883 the company has grasped how to foresee customers’ changing needs and changes on the markets, or how to respond to them quickly.
This flexibility is fostered due to the legal form of the family-run company with its short routes for decision-making. Vorwerk was a purely textile enterprise at first; its own machine-operated factory works was adjoined as of 1908. The newly developed hand-held vacuum cleaner that arose from the crisis of the economic depression in 1929 was a ‘white elephant’ at the beginning due to its nondescript appearance. Faced with this situation, August Mittelsten Scheid, the head of the company at the time, ventured what is probably the greatest innovative leap in the company’s history: He introduced direct sales & distribution, a method that his son, Werner, had become acquainted with during his stay in the USA. This form of sales ensures a continuous exchange back and forth with the customer. The expert consultant demonstrates the appliances while accruing new ideas and suggestions at the same time. This way the customer is directly involved in product development.
This basic stance towards the customer helped to make the direct sale of electrical appliances and fitted kitchens a success. Yet it also ended up being transferred to all the other fields of business at Vorwerk & Co.: broadloom carpets, commercial services and specialised sales outlets. Vorwerk sees the basis for its further growth and ongoing internationalisation in the dialogue conducted with the customer and the constant innovation that results from it. Customer orientation is a key to success all over the world, whether in India, China, the USA or Europe. From its long tradition of working with change Vorwerk & Co. gathers the strength and assurance that it shall remain successful on the global market and for a long time to come, too.