18 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2008
Shaw Industries, a leading U.S. global manufacturer of floor coverings, produced EcoWorx technology to create a carpet tile that is PVC-free and able to be recycled, upon return to the company, as a carpet tile of equal quality and performance. Using green chemistry, the company has created a sustainable business innovation that cut costs, improves revenues, positively influences health and the environment, improves the brand, and enhances Shaw's strategic positioning going forward. The case explores drivers of change toward sustainably designed floor coverings and EcoWorx as example of innovative change using sustainability framework.
SHAW INDUSTRIES: SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS,
ENTREPRENEURIAL INNOVATION, AND GREEN CHEMISTRY
The carpet industry is the battlefield where the war for sustainability is being waged.
—Architect William McDonough
In 2003 Shaw's EcoWorx® carpet tiles won a U.S. Green Chemistry Institute's Presidential Green Chemistry Award. The company had earned the award by combining the application of green chemistry and engineering principles (Exhibit 1) with a cradle-to-cradle design (C2C) approach to create a closed loop carpet tile system, a first in the industry. The product met the rising demand for “sustainable” innovations, helping to create a new market space that opened up in the late 1990s and 2000s as buyers became more cognizant of human health and ecosystem hazards associated with interior furnishings.
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Keywords: innovation, sustainable business, environment, environmental, entrepreneurial innovation, corporate transformation
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Larson, Andrea and O'Brien, Karen and Anderson, Alia, Shaw Industries: Sustainable Business, Entrepreneurial Innovation, and Green Chemistry. Darden Case No. UVA-ENT-0087. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1278403
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