5 questions for George Bandy, vice president of sustainability, Mohawk

December 27, 2016
Mohawk's George Bandy

Mohawk’s George Bandy

HOW IS THE COMMERCIAL FLOORING SEGMENT IMPACTING SUSTAINABILITY WITHIN THE INDUSTRY AND BEYOND?

The commercial flooring segment has been a leader in the industry as it relates to sustainability because it is underneath the end user and connects everything. Flooring oftentimes sets the foundation for a green project by being the catalyst to improving productivity, making people feel better inside a space and even providing directional influence — whether it be via acoustical benefits or recycled materials used. Flooring can create a platform designed to mimic nature, or even in a retail atmosphere, to make people want to be in specific space and experience certain things. We can further continue down this path with smart floors and other innovations, and have so much more we can do.

WHAT’S THE NO. 1 QUESTION REGARDING GREEN BUILDING THAT YOU CONTINUALLY HEAR FROM THE A&D COMMUNITY? AND WHAT IS YOUR ANSWER?

We’ve been hearing a lot of requests for Red List-free products, and Mohawk has responded with more than 500 products. These have been well received, but the impact of those products depends on how other people in the industry answer this request. Second, people are asking for more corresponding products that go together — both hard and soft surface — to give them what they need. People are also looking for more biophillic design, which seems to help answer end-user questions: How can you help me attract and retain millennial talent, make people more productive at work and provide an environment that people want to come spend time in?

HOW DO YOU BRIDGE THE GAP BETWEEN THE SOCIAL AND BUSINESS SIDES OF SUSTAINABILITY?

The gap is already bridged for us. One of the best kept secrets at Mohawk is we have nurses and doctors on site at 14 of our production facilities. We provide health and wellness for customers but also for the people who work here. That social connectivity shows we are concerned. We believe you can’t prioritize wealth and socialize the risk as a manufacturer. Our social responsibility is to our community — internally as well as the broader clients, cities and global community we share. To do this, we’re always working to create an atmosphere for collaboration and building relationships to obtain understanding. And the culture within our organization is cognizant we are all here together trying to meet those needs.

YOU RECENTLY JOINED MOHAWK GROUP. WHAT ARE THREE GREEN GOALS FOR THE COMPANY IN YOUR FIRST YEAR AS ITS SUSTAINABILITY LEADER?

I think sustainability requires constant thoughtful disruption, and I will bring to the table a team of disrupters that challenge the norm. This group will listen and go out intently asking customers what are we doing or not doing to position ourselves with you. The goal is active engagement. I really want us to listen to the heartbeat of customers when it comes to green building solutions all for one reason: our future. We want to do our part.

WHAT ARE YOUR GO-TO RESOURCES ON SUSTAINABILITY, AND HOW CAN THE INDUSTRY BE MORE PROACTIVE IN EDUCATING ITSELF?

Wisdom times innovation yields opportunity. I have independent relationships with so many pioneers of sustainability — Rick Fedrizzi, Janine Benyus, Jason McLennon, Mahesh Ramanujam, Cheryl Durst, Bob Berkebile and John Claussen, for instance. Gathering wisdom from these leaders and then listening to young, super smart, highly enthusiastic and digitally connected folks has given me an innovative, relationship building, globalization mindset. I’m excited to see if we all are ambassadors of sustainability where these collaborative ideas merge to create an explosion of

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