We leave our green footprints all around the world.
Leaving Ecological Footprints
Creating the most natural and healthy product for our loyal customers is one of our main focuses. The other is that we give back more than we take from the environment within all phases of production – from the rubber tree seed to being a comfortable mattress, topper or pillow in your home (we also recommend giving our pure natural latex blog article a read). Many companies tell how they are responsible, towards both their customers, society and the environment. Often, the word “Ecologic” is also used in that context - however, we do not only claim in doing so but provide you with evidence of each statement on ecological footprints we make.
Below we will get into the biggest contributions to the environment from our side, beginning with our CO2 emissions uptake. Secondly, the Cradle to Cradle® GOLD certification will once again be highlighted since it contributes to all areas we continuously improve on: material health, material reutilization, renewable energy and carbon management, water stewardship and social responsibility. Finally, we will get a deeper look at the CO2OL Tropical Mix project we are a part of in Panama and what positive effects it had and still bears! We at Vita Talalay want to leave as many ecological footprints as we can!
First of all, let us talk about CO2 emissions. What does it mean and how does it affect our lives and the environment so badly that it has become one of the most spoken topics within the industry?
CO2 is short for carbon dioxide and is considered to be one of the natural greenhouse gasses which are mostly harmful to our atmosphere. This is because natural greenhouse gasses are responsible for preserving heat in the atmosphere rather than diminishing it. In the long run, this leads to the creation of holes in our atmosphere which no longer protect our planet’s environment and its inhabitants from the radioactive rays resonating from the sun. Important to note is also that CO2 is used in many cases as a comparable basis for how much other natural greenhouse gasses damage our atmosphere. This basic measurement is the so-called GWP, which stands for global warming potential.
Our footprint calculation (following the method of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol) shows that we uptake 4 kilograms of CO2 for each Natural Vita Talalay latex mattress we produce and sell. This is a unique ecological footprint and something we are extremely proud of.
Compare this to a Dunlop latex that claims to produce with less energy but contains only 60% natural content. You will see that such a product does in fact produce 1,25 kg carbon dioxide for each kg of Dunlop made!
In one sentence: we give back more to the environment than we take!
This achievement can be accredited to many years of modifying and improving our process and product. Also, the sole fact that we only use pure natural rubber latex contributes to lowering CO2 emissions significantly as well, since once synthetic (petro-chemical) materials are used in the process, the production of carbon dioxide increases significantly. Any material which is made with a percentage of synthetic latex (like memory foam or most of the latex in the market) has by definition a negative ecological footprint as they do not use the latex tree as a source. Have a look at our Eco-Institut certification that tests the natural content of our products. Although we are already happy with our results, Vita Talalay strives to improve continually and replace CO2 with life-giving oxygen in all phases of the product life cycle. In other words: we aim for full ecological restoration.
Some brands that do focus on communicating “Ecologic” often speak of the short distance to the transportation of their latex. Although the effort is much appreciated, it is important to realize that these efforts only leave a significantly smaller ecological footprint in comparison to the efforts to modify the production process. In the end, using green energy, only using natural latex, implementing the Cradle to Cradle philosophy and taking part in the CO2OL project is simply much more effective for the environment than any other effort one could possibly take.
All of our figures are based on calculations from the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, an institute which sets a worldwide standard for the measuring, managing and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions. The other source is the Malaysian Rubber Board, which is the custodian of the natural rubber industry in Malaysia.
Cradle to Cradle
As mentioned in one of our previous blog articles (Cradle to Cradle® - What is it and why is it so important?), we value the Cradle to Cradle™ Institute very much since it perfectly overlaps with our values. Just as a reminder:
Vita Talalay is the only luxury bedding material manufacturer in the world who has been awarded the Cradle to Cradle® GOLD certification.
Let us explain briefly how the certificate works correctly! The main idea is to move away from Cradle to Grave and implement the Cradle to Cradle philosophy. The difference is that the latter aims at creating a closed circle where no materials go to waste, and all other materials have a healthy content, during the whole production process. The Cradle to Cradle® GOLD certification proves that Vita Talalay is on it’s the best way to perfection that concept and leave positive ecological footprints where we can. The certification is then divided into 5 different categories, all of which would receive an individual grade, being either basic, bronze, silver, gold or platinum. However, the overall grade for the company will be based on the lowest grade given to a category. If for example, a company would receive a platinum grade for four categories and bronze in one, it would only be awarded a bronze certificate. However, we at Vita Talalay are proud to say that we have achieved the GOLD level within each category!
The philosophy is essentially split into five different categories, all of which Vita Talalay feels connected to. The first category, being material health, has always been one of our most important values. We want to create the healthiest sleep experience for our customers, which is why the luxury pure natural Talalay latex that we produce is the most breathable, hypoallergenic and thus hygienic comfort material in the world. As opposed to most other latex foam, our comfort material does not contain any petrochemical oils or other potentially hazardous materials which could be harmful to our health and the environment. In short: our material is completely toxin-free: no nitrosamines, PBDE flame retardants, phthalates, ozone depleters, no formaldehyde, or harmful or high VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds). Not only in line with the stringent European REACH legislation, but according to the strict regulations of the Cradle to Cradle® institute.
The second category is material reutilization and is essentially connected to what was mentioned before – a closed cycle without the production of waste. As mentioned earlier, Vita Talalay has already been awarded the Cradle to Cradle® GOLD certification and continuously strives to further improve our ecologic efforts.
The third category is renewable energy and carbon management. Vita Talalay is currently working on switching completely to renewable energy. Also, we have also proven that we are up taking more carbon dioxide than creating the natural greenhouse gas. Or in other words: our production process is energy positive, once again leaving a positive ecological footprint.
The fourth category is water stewardship and is connected to the responsible usage and disposal of water. Not only do we ensure that we do not use more water than we need, but we also clean every drop of water we have used in the whole production process with our brand new and precise filtration system. This ensures that all problematic substances for the environment have been removed from the water. The last step the water undertakes is then simply going through water plants, turning it back into drinking water.
Finally, the last category is social responsibility – another category which we find very important. We make sure that all parties involved in all steps of the supply chain are socially responsible. This includes making sure that the children have a school and attend classes in the rural areas where our natural rubber comes from, as well as responsible working conditions, etc. Also, we make sure that we only harvest sustainably, meaning that the rubber trees and soils are not harmed in the process while also changing the fields regularly to circumvent damaging the environment. Another positive ecological footprint we are very proud of!
Forest Stewardship Council®
The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®) is an worldwide known non-governmental organization that runs a certification scheme with the two main components: Forest Management and Chain of Custody.
Vita Talalay is the first in the latex bedding industry who has been awarded the Chain of Custody FSC Certification.
The FSC is dedicated to promoting environmentally sound, socially beneficial, and economic prosperous management of world’s forests. Therefore they have created the highest standard, a set principles and criteria, to ensure that forests are responsibly managed. Each principles has its own criteria that must be met in order to get a certificate. The principles include criteria include compliance with laws and FSC principles, tenure, use rights and responsibilities, Indigenous people’s rights, community relations and worker’s rights, benefits from the forest and environmental impact as well as management plans, monitoring, assessment and maintenance of high conservation value forests and plantations.
In order to get an Chain of Custody certification the organization has to be a manufacturers, processors, or traders of FSC certified forest products. Without having anything to do with FSC certified forest products, there is no eligibility of the organization to get a Chain of Custody certification. The original source of FSC certified products are the forests. Thus the whole certification process starts at the forest. Not just any forest, but well-managed FSC certified forests.
FSC certified forests have been awarded the Forest Management certification. For forest managers to get certified, their management and the forest will have to go through a brief pre-assessment and an in-depth assessment. If the forest management matches the FSC principles and criteria, then the certification will be granted. However if there are too many mismatches, the forest manager has to fix those mismatches before a reapplication of the assessment.
Manufacturers, processors, or traders of FSC certified forest products can become certified after a whole assessment of the supply chain. In this assessment it is ensured that FSC certified material is identified or kept separated from non-certified or non-controlled forest materials. This means that the whole production process will be traced back to the FSC certified forest. FSC certified products bear an FSC label with their own unique certification code. With the FSC label you are able to identify an FSC certified product.
Vita Talalay processes forest material, sap from the rubber tree, and has been granted the Chain of Custody FSC certification. This means that the production of Vita Talalay latex bedding is now more traceable and transparent than before. Natural Vita Talalay latex bedding has been FSC certified from seed to latex tree to Talalay latex bedding. This means that Vita Talalay allows you to make the healthiest latex bedding option for you and the environment!