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Building the Carbon Neutral World

Mark Bauer, Environmental Specialist at Forbo Flooring Systems
November 2020

Carbon Neutral Blog Header UK

Around the world, more and more cities, countries and businesses are adopting pledges to become net carbon neutral. The UK is leading the pack, recently becoming the first major economy to pass net zero emission targets into law. In this blog, our environmental specialist, Mark Bauer, details more about the concept, what it is, how it can be achieved and why products like Marmoleum are helping in this endeavour.

What is "Carbon Neutrality"?

Carbon neutrality refers to a balance between carbon emissions and carbon absorption. Organisations or countries that become carbon neutral do so by neutralising carbon emissions with systems called carbon sinks, which naturally absorb carbon in the atmosphere. This may be achieved by actions or activities such as planting trees.

According to data from the European Parliament, carbon sinks could be removing nearly 30% of global carbon emissions every year. However, the carbon stored in natural sinks will eventually be re-emitted back into the atmosphere. For example, the thawing of the perma frost of Siberia is releasing greenhouse gases, such as methane. As such, it’s essential that policies which look to reduce carbon emissions are also prioritised.

Marmoleum CO2 neutral logo cradle to gate

Can Construction become Carbon Neutral?

Nobody can be in any doubt about the size of the challenge the sector has to become carbon neutral, with embodied carbon currently responsible for 28% of the building sector’s emissions.

However, collaboration will be required between all stakeholders – designers, manufacturers, specifiers and contractors for example – to deliver carbon neutrality.

At Forbo, we are striving to do our bit by delivering carbon neutral products (cradle to gate) such as our Marmoleum solution. Our knowledge, understanding and importance of delivering low carbon products is increasing.

Do carbon neutral solutions exist?

Yes, they do. We recognise that the demand for carbon neutral solutions is increasing, which is why at Forbo, our initial focus has been to reduce carbon emissions in the cradle to gate phase of our Marmoleum solution. This has resulted in the weighted average of our Marmoleum range being CO2 neutral. In fact, on average, every m2 of Marmoleum 2.5mm sheet we produce removes 42.5g of CO2. This is achieved by combining natural, renewable, recycled materials in a modern facility powered by renewable electricity.

Can we build a carbon neutral world?

At Forbo, we believe the answer is yes. What’s more, thanks to solutions like Marmoleum, building a carbon neutral world (cradle to gate) can begin with the floor. Across all applications, the sustainable solution can be used to create better environments. In offices, schools, commercial outlets and hospitals, sustainable choices like Marmoleum are helping to highlight what’s attainable when performance and eco-friendliness are dually prioritised.

Forbo's Marmoleum Fresco 3259

Forbo's Marmoleum Marbled sheet linoleum

Forbo's Marmoleum Fresco 3259 in primary school environment

Forbo's Marmoleum Fresco sheet linoleum

As well as helping to reduce the carbon footprint of the organisations who specify them, high-quality sustainable solutions could play an important role driving further adoption amongst the wider public. To this end, normalising the specification of such solutions in non-domestic environments could help to accelerate the same process within our homes, where it will inevitably have further results.

Watch our webinar

Innovator & artist, Daan Roosegaarde, and CEO of the World Green Building Council, Cristina Gamboa, shared their inspirational outlook at the first Forbo Flooring Systems international webinar, entitled A vision for a CO2 neutral future.

During the webinar, the two guests also urged for change to start sooner rather than later. Gamboa: “Constructing a world that destructs, is no longer valid.”