CLASSEN Group: Prime example in terms of sustainability - CLASSEN Group

First Sustainability Report under the Guiding Principle "Floors For A Better Tomorrow

Kaisersesch/Baruth, October 10, 2022 Sustainability is a term that is often overused in the German economy. How companies are actually doing about it can often only be found out by asking critical questions and taking a closer look. It is not uncommon for many sustainability efforts to turn out to be greenwashing, lip service or a real farce. This is particularly true of manufacturing and industry. The sustainability report of the CLASSEN Group, leading German manufacturer of floor and wall coverings, which has now been published voluntarily for the first time, documents that there is another way. For the first time, the medium-sized family-owned company with headquarters in the Eifel region documents here its successes in the reduction of CO2 emissions, the use of recycled materials for upcycling or the avoidance of pollutants.

Sustainability as the basis for value creation

The CLASSEN Group is committed to the development and production of healthy floor and wall coverings. For the family-run company with its more than 2,000 employees, long-term sustainability has been directly linked to sustainable business practices for more than 50 years. The development of the material CERAMIN® illustrates this. It forms the basis for recyclable and resource-saving floor and wall coverings. Here, efforts to promote sustainability permeate all areas of the value chain - from resource utilization and production to application and recycling. Independent environmental seals such as the "Blue Angel" or the eco-Institut label confirm this.

"With the voluntarily prepared sustainability report, we are taking account of our own claim to always be one step ahead in terms of innovation, technology and sustainability," says founder and CEO Dr. Hans-Jürgen Hannig. "For us, sustainability is a great matter of course and the basis for the existence of our planet and thus of future generations," continues Dr. Hannig. 

Focus on people and the environment: CO2 reduction, resource conservation and recycling

The report covers the areas of product quality and safety, sustainable product development and packaging, responsible procurement, circular economy and CO2 savings. The successes in consistently reducing CO2 emissions, for example, are attributable to process improvements at all sites. In 2020 and 2021 alone, more than 13,000 metric tons of CO2 were saved in this way. Among other things, the world's largest laminate plant in Baruth (Brandenburg) relied on a technology patented by CLASSEN itself during the plant conversion. A very typical process for the company. 

This also applies to the careful use of resources. In addition to the exclusive use of FSC® (FSC C100583) and PEFC (PEFC/04-31-0824) certified woods - generally from the immediate vicinity - this also applies to the continuously increasing use of recycled materials and the construction of our own energy center. In this way, the company has already largely detached itself from fossil energy sources such as oil and gas at an early stage. Instead, the CLASSEN Group relies on thermal energy from production residues and energy recovery from waste wood. A farsighted step that guarantees the company the greatest possible freedom and complete independence in the supply of heat in the current energy crisis. 

Upcycling: How yogurt cups are turned into sturdy, eco-friendly flooring

As the only company that produces plastic-based floor and wall coverings, CLASSEN has always avoided the use of environmentally harmful substances such as PVC by using the material CERAMIN®. For example, CERAMIN® consists to a large extent of PP recyclates. In this way, plastic waste such as yogurt pots or medical packaging is turned into robust floor and wall coverings through upcycling. Through the joint venture HC Plastics GmbH, which CLASSEN founded with Hündgen Entsorgungs GmbH & Co. KG, the CLASSEN Group has direct access to the secondary raw materials market and can thus take back the 100% recyclable CERAMIN®-containing coverings. 

Der Bericht verdeutlicht nicht nur die verschiedenen Aktivitäten der CLASSEN-Gruppe in Sachen Nachhaltigkeit und liefert hierfür zahlreiche, konkrete Beispiele. Er ist auch ein Paradebeispiel dafür, wie mittelständische Industriebetriebe durch kluge und vorausschauende Planung ihre Unabhängigkeit wahren und gleichzeitig einen wichtigen Beitrag für die Zukunftsfähigkeit unseres Planeten liefern können. “Nachhaltigkeit ist weit mehr als die bloße Überlebensfähigkeit von Geschäftsmodellen”, so Stefanie Quervel, Tochter des Unternehmensgründers und CFO der CLASSEN-Gruppe. “Für uns beinhaltet das viel mehr organisches Wachstum mit dem nötigen Respekt vor natürlichen Ressourcen und künftigen Generationen.“

The sustainability report can here can be downloaded free of charge. 

Stefanie Quervel and Dr. Hans-Jürgen Hannig are available as possible interview partners.

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