Superwood shares its journey from C2C Certified® Version 3.1 to 4.0
Cladding boards by Superwood were recently recertified according to the Cradle to Cradle Certified® Product Standard Version 4.0 at the Silver and Gold levels.
The journey to lift Superwood's impregnated spruce products from Cradle to Cradle Certified® Version 3.1 to Version 4.0 required time and resources, engaging more people than before within the company. Sofie Mora Kristensen, Sustainability & Marketing Manager at Superwood, proudly said "We had to provide the same hard data as last time about consumption of chemicals, water, energy and more. But this time, documentation, processes, formalities and policies had to be developed much further, which is great, because it means that we then have something concrete to refer to”.
The requirements in Version 4.0 are much stricter than in Version 3.1, not least in the Social Fairness category, where they are in accordance with new regulations, e.g. The EU's Corporate Due Diligence Directive (CDDD) and the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD). This meant that Superwood had to carry out a comprehensive Environmental and Human Rights Risk Assessment for the product, production and supply chain, just as they adopted a strategy for improvements.
"We do many good things, and we dare to talk about it. The Cradle to Cradle Certified® certification gives us a stronger foundation to document everything we are proud of," said Sofie Mora Kristensen.
Another new requirement in Version 4.0 is that the responsibility for collecting data and implementing improvements must not lie with a single person, but must be anchored throughout the organization.
"The responsibility cannot lie solely with me. For example, I have to explain who else has been involved in our half-yearly audits and who is responsible for the environmental part of the production. In this way, the entire certification process trickles down into the organization, so that everyone is engaged in it," said Sofie Mora Kristensen.
From Bronze and Gold, to Silver and Gold
Superwood has developed a patented technology to impregnate wood, which can extend the durability of spruce, which otherwise does not have such a long lifespan.
In 2021, Superwood's entire range was certified for the first time in two product groups according to Cradle to Cradle Certified® Product Standard Version 3.1. Impregnated boards were certified at Gold level, while impregnated boards that are painted were awarded Bronze level. After the new re-certification in accordance with Version 4.0, the painted boards advanced to Silver, thanks to better surface treatments that the company started to use. The thoroughly impregnated products remain at Gold level.
Overall, Sofie Mora Kristensen has good reason to be proud. "The requirements at the individual levels have increased significantly, and it has become more challenging to get to the next level. So we are more than satisfied with the result," she said.
Annette Hastrup, CEO at Vugge til Vugge ApS, who has conducted the C2C Certified assessment for Superwood, praised the company efforts. "These are really great results for a relatively small company” she said. “Superwood has agreed wholeheartedly and has provided all the documentation necessary to meet the new and stricter requirements. The process has been efficient and problem-free.”
“Sorting”: a way to reduce waste and contribute to Superwood's bottom line
Additionally to improving the surface treatment of the painted boards, which affects the Material Health certification category, Superwood has also created a strategy for Product Circularity. Since the first certification in 2021, Superwood has managed to reduce waste and create a basis for social economic work.
"About seven percent of what we have already impregnated is sorted out due to our high quality requirements. Previously, this material ended up in a corner at the back of our site in Hampen, and we didn't have a specific purpose for it. Now it gets a stamp as second sorting, for which we have actually gained a completely new customer group," explained Sofie Mora Kristensen.
This effort, primarily aimed at using production waste, also has a positive impact in the Social Fairness category: to sort and stamp the second sorting, Superwood periodically employs people who are on the edge of the labor market and unable to hold a full-time job, in collaboration with external partners such as the job center of Ikast-Brande’s Municipality. Moreover, Superwood sponsors second sorting boards for the social economic company Woods by Human Ressources in Silkeborg, where young people build planters, shelters and outdoor furniture from them.
Most recently, Superwood has established the "Supergood" project, where the company donates the unsorted wood to projects that either harmonize with Superwood's selected global goals, or have a positive impact on the local community (for example, schools and scouts).
Interest in the good stories
Not only wood is in demand at Superwood. Customers also show an increasing interest in the company’s good stories about the environment, waste reduction and social responsibility. Whereas two years ago sustainability occupied a few lines in their sales brochure, in 2023 they dedicated two pages out of ten to the topic, in response to their salespeople’s feedback in Norway, Sweden, Germany and Denmark about an increased interest in sustainability.
"This applies especially to certified construction such as DGNB and BREEAM, because it gives more points to use wood that has a better climate footprint. Around here, there is a particular need for information and documentation," commented Sofie Mora Kristensen.
The EU's initiatives with ESG and CSRD reporting increase interest, so Superwood finds that Cradle to Cradle Certified® gives an advantage and helps them to be at the forefront. To this regard, Sofie Mora Kristensen concluded "I welcome the increased demands. Superwood is good, and we want to compete on sustainability. The EU's documentation requirements make it easier for us to benchmark ourselves against other companies.”