We must have been the first worldwide textile manufacturer of home textiles to adopt our production to satisfy the criteria required by third party to achieve the Society for Nature Conservation’s Good Environmental Choice ECO labeling.
We introduced our first collection using ecologically grown cotton and flax fibers which allowed us to apply the Good Environmental Choice ECO labeling.
Ecologically certified cotton yarn could be purchased. Certified flax fibers for linen yarn were available, but the process to make the linen yarn was not certified. Through an intensive effort with many trips, we were able to convince a German manufacturer to certify the process of manufacturing the yarn for us.
Our entire staff was sent through an environmental training class, and three of our managers were sent to the ISO 14000 education to learn about the environmental leadership system. This year Ekelund received an honorary diploma from the Swedish Textile Society for its own environmental initiatives.
Ekelund developed and put on line its own final processing system which does not require a public sewer system, and which uses only 50% of the energy compared to similar commercial systems.
Ekelund replaced all of their toilets with ones that use less water. The warehouse and the seamstress area receive an upgraded heat exchanger utilizing excessive heat from production equipment.
Ekelund installs a water collection system to utilize rainwater from the factory roof in the final processing and pre-shrinking of all its textiles.
We replaced our oil-burning heaters with heaters using bio-fuels for all heating requirements. This was a normal progression as Ekelund owns its own environmentally certified forest with a growth progression adequate for all of our needs.
We shared our knowledge with a Czechoslovakian textile mill and helped them achieve the same success we have for their final textile processing system. We were proud to be able to share our knowledge.
We invested in a factory expansion of 2,800 m2 (30,000 ft2) and named the new building the Ekelund House. This House contains production facilities, offices, a large customer shop with cafeteria, and our new museum. This now allows us to share and communicate our environmental initiatives with our consumers. This new House contains a few new environmental initiatives such as geothermal cooling, siding of heat treated oak etc.
Ekelund was noted as a finalist for The Swedish Association of Environmental Managers award for Excellence in Environmental Leadership.
Ekelund focused on exchanging light fixtures for more energy efficient replacements. We also researched our garbage processing for more efficiency. In addition we investigated the use of formaldehyde free compound in our final processing stages.
Ekelund initiated the research to enhance our 3-color patented Rainbow weaving method to a 6-color pixel weaving method. The environmental benefits of the pixel weaving process are less warehousing of many different colors of yarns and no remnants.
Ekelund introduced its first textiles using the 6-color technique to consumers.
Ekelund decides to invest in product research where its textiles can offer inherent ecofriendly properties. This was further enhanced when we discovered that bamboo viscose yarn exhibited an inherent feature to eliminate bacterial growth.
We further expanded our product development team to include staff from idea generation to product marketing. An 8 person team is now allowing us to make it right from the start. The total number of iterations in new development has been significantly reduced as a result.
Ekelund is awarded “The ECO Price” honorary award.
After a study of our Swedish distribution system in regards to ECO friendliness, we elect to sign a contract with the Swedish Postal system for our domestic distribution.
Ekelund staff pays a visit to China to study the bamboo farming, harvesting, and processing of the bamboo to bamboo viscose fibers. Ekelund also this year introduces the naturally scent free dish cloth where we have harvested ecologically renewable properties in a great consumer product. The dish cloth requires less washing and less use of paper equivalents which preserves our environment.
Ekelund receives the distinguished “Textile of the Year” award for its development of the antibacterial and scent free Dish Cloth. Ekelund also introduces its light throws containing the bamboo viscose fibers to allow use in more damp environments such as for boats and more tropical environments without smelling moldy.
Final processing is now done without any formaldehyde related properties in our process.
Ekelund starts using “green” electricity produced from solar, wind or water resources.
We support research on how to revise the criteria for textile ECO labeling in relationship to Good Environmental Choice.
Ekelund is studying plans for the future and has identified an issue relating to transportation to far away customers. Airfreight will continue to increase to where we will lose affordability with those markets. Ekelund has therefore decided to look at manufacturing in Asia and South or Central America within a 10 year time frame.
During the fall, Ekelund signed an agreement to produce its products under license in China for their domestic market. The agreement regulates how the licensee obtains our technology, design and the trade mark Ekelund.
Ekelund receives the distinguished “Textile of the Year” award for the 6-color pixel weaving system. This can be considered a whole new weaving method in an industry that is over 1,000 years old.
New criteria from the Society for Nature Conservation for textile ECO labeling are issued. As a result, and also because this ECO labeling does not seem to be recognized worldwide for the growing Ekelund export sales, Ekelund has decided to abandon the Society for Nature Conservation labeling. We will instead get involved in a more detailed environmental reporting procedure via our web site and thru visits to our factory in Horred.
Ekelund has further also decided to start using ecologically grown organic cotton for all of its production instead of conventionally grown cotton.
LOOKING AHEAD – NEW GOALS
The way we work at Ekelund, by assessing our ecological ideas on-the-fly, makes it a bit difficult to establish a detailed plan. As done at many other corporations, we are working with 5 – 10 year plans in all areas. We will assess these plans with our “green eye-glasses” and see what we can do to provide further environmental improvements.
As we have started a licensed production facility in China for their domestic market, we intend to find like solutions in other parts of the world making environmental sense.