Ever since the start in 1857, Kährs has been an environmental pioneer and captures the beauty and expression of wood, combining good looks with cutting-edge floor technology to produce floors that are durable, stable and easy to install.
Kährs only makes wood floors, a renewable flooring material. A wood floor will last for generations, saving on earth’s resources. We constantly strive to find the most eco-friendly ways of manufacturing our wood floors and we were the first flooring manufacturer to have an entirely solvent-free production process. The surfaces of our floors are also easy to clean and maintain without the use of strong chemicals.
Kährs' long-term dedication to the environment has been internationally acknowledged. In 1993, Kährs was the first wood floor manufacturer in the world to obtain ISO 9001 certification, and in 1997 they also achieved ISO 14001 certification.
In 2011 Kährs was the first company in the world to support and purchase dual-labelled material from Chile that meets both FSC and Fairtrade certification standards.
Kährs is dedicated to optimizing the use of raw material, in order to minimise waste and emissions to the environment. By pre-cutting the logs that are shipped to Kährs' factory, more efficient packaging and use of space is achieved – keeping transportation to a minimum and reducing waste material.
The parts of the logs that can’t be used in the production of wood floors are converted to biofuel. Some is used to produce energy to heat the Kährs factory. The rest is sold to a local energy company and used to heat the whole neighbourhood. Kährs is, in fact, a major producer of energy – whilst also striving to reduce the energy that is used. Even the ash from the heating plant is re-used for fertilizing purposes in local forestry operations. During the last few years, Kährs has managed to reduce their use of raw material by some 25%, through their dedicated environmental work.
More than 88% of the raw material we use grows less than 200 km from our factory in Sweden. There are several environmental advantages of using locally-produced raw material. An obvious one is a reduction in transport. Another is being able to thoroughly check forestry methods and timber sources.
Sustainable and responsible forestry is the basis of Kährs' operations. Kährs wants to be able to guarantee that the wood species used in their flooring production originates from genuinely legal sources.
As a result, Kährs has stopped marketing rainforest wood products – until there are processes and documentation that offer guarantees that the rainforest timber is derived from controlled sources. To replace these, Kährs has a range of stained floors that create the same impression as a tropical wood floor. Two Jatoba floors have been re-introduced to Kährs ranges, however they are both FSC certfied.
Deforestation threatens the planet
Rainforests around the world are seriously threatened by large-scale felling, most of which is illegal. There are also great difficulties involved in trying to guarantee the origin of the wood and to determine whether it has been legally felled, because of forged documents and certificates, as well as wide spread bribery and corruption.
Kährs realises, however, that countries in the tropical zone must be given the opportunity to carry out sustainable forestry of rainforest wood species, in order to develop their countries and economies. Kährs will, therefore, reassess their decision when, and if, full guarantees of origin can be presented. Kährs will also continue to pursue this issue in co-operation with forestry and environmental organisations.
Kährs demands reliable certificates and guarantees
Kährs only works with suppliers who hold a FCS (Forest Stewardship Council) or PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) certificate – or suppliers who are able to prove that they operate environmentally-aware timber procurement. Kährs obtained their first FSC-certificate in 2005 and only purchase from countries that are members of the International Tropical Timber Organisation (ITTO), where all members are dedicated to working for sustainable forestry.
We continuously visit our suppliers, in order to ensure that they comply with our ethical standards.
Kährs constantly strives to further underpin their commitment to the environment and to create operations that are sustainable in the long term, in order to benefit both present and future generations. The basis of their environmental policy is to:
- contribute towards responsible forestry and facilitate the same.
- reduce their environmental impact by constantly improving the ways in which chemicals, raw materials and energy are handled.
- develop and manufacture wood flooring on the basis of a lifecycle perspective, in accordance with conditions for sustainable development.
- understand and comply with laws and other environmental requirements, applicable to the entire supply chain.
Top quality: our guiding light
Kährs combines their environmental responsibilities with modern work processes and ambitious quality guidelines. Quality is their guiding light – not only for their products, but in everything they do.
Environmental and quality declarations and certificates
Kährs follows the industrial standard of the Swedish Flooring Trade Association (GBR) for environmental declarations, so that they can provide environmentally relevant information on their products. Every production unit at Kährs applies environmental and quality systems in accordance with ISO 14001 and ISO 9001 and holds EMAS registration.
EMAS — voluntary EU eco-management
EMAS is the EU's voluntary eco-management and audit scheme. EMAS aims to streamline and constantly improve environmental work at companies and organisations and to pass on reliable messages to the market concerning the results of environmental work, by means of audited and approved environmental reports and other forms of environmental communication in advertising and marketing. Kährs has been registered with EMAS since 1997.
Kährs report has been audited and approved by DNV Certification AB in accordance with EMAS.
Last year's EMAS environmental report 2010 (pdf) is available for download.
ISO — the international environmental management system
ISO 14001 is the international environmental management system, while ISO 9001 is the international quality control system. Below are the quality and environmental accreditations relating to all Kährs plants.