TODAY'S carpet could be tomorrow's fence posts -- and environmentally conscious manufacturer Tuftmaster Carpets wouldn't have it any other way.
When consumers are done with their carpets, the Australian-owned firm has access to a stewardship program that will collect the carpet -- so it doesn't go into landfill -- and deliver it to a second company to be recycled into fence posts.
The company's environmental representative, Nicole Scott, says steward shipping of Tuftmaster products is just one example of the company's commitment to sustainability.
Years ago, when the company realised sustainability would become a pivotal issue for the carpet industry, Tuftmaster set about reducing its contribution to climate change and achieved its ISO14001 accreditation.
And, like many companies, it turned to the government-accredited GreenPower program to buy renewable energy.
In the factory, everything from cardboard to wool, metals and plastics is recycled.
``Our environmental work has been very much driven from the CEO down,'' Ms Scott says.
``The company has long had a mentality of wanting to be leaders on the sustainability front.
``It makes sense for the environment and it makes good business sense at the same time.''
Ms Scott says architects, designers and domestic customers are looking for environmentally sustainable products.
``The GreenPower logo is a standout. It's known to the domestic consumer.
``When the price point for environmentally preferable products is similar, customers are responsive.''
Energetics, a management consultancy in the climate-change field, advises clients to monitor and map their emissions.
Client-services manager Grant Raja says it is important for companies to know their baseline so they can chart a path to reduce emissions.
Buying renewable energy through GreenPower is a common step.
These energy sources -- generated, for example, from mini hydro, wind power and biomass -- produce no net greenhouse gas emissions.
The extra money customers spend per megawatt hour is invested in the renewable energy sector.
Scores of Australian companies, including Energetics, now buy 100 per cent renewable energy sourced from GreenPower.
``GreenPower is something clients actually ask for,'' Mr Raja says. ``Buyers are becoming more sophisticated and many want to know the fuel source as well.''
Energetics also sources opportunities for clients to invest in renewable energy projects, such as installing bulk solar panels, on their own sites.
Mr Raja says clients are willing to spend more on renewable energy because it is a recognised mechanism to show customers they are responding to climate change.
``There has been strong marketing around GreenPower,'' he says.
``It is something you can do straight away. You can make the switch today and start purchasing renewable energy.''
Mr Raja says companies with strong links to the environment are most likely to use GreenPower.
The Department of Sustainability and Environment is seeking responses for the supply of GreenPower.
The purchase will help Victorian Government departments and agencies meet the Government Sustainable Energy Target to purchase 25 per cent of its electricity as GreenPower by 2010-11.
The tender closes on April 15.