Providing high-quality chemical technology solutions with sustainability built into the core

Based in Wadesboro, North Carolina, LOBA-WAKOL LLC is a leading manufacturer of high-quality wood flooring adhesives and surface finishes, and oils. The business is a North American subsidiary of the German market leaders LOBA and WAKOL, who have partners and subsidiaries in over 40 countries around the world.

LOBA-WAKOL showcases how small-scale initiatives can drive momentum for the successful implementation of larger sustainability goals. The business has also integrated the concept of sustainability into the very fabric of the organization’s offering, disrupting the market with innovations that cause less harm to people and the planet.

LOBA-WAKOL provides high-quality chemical technology solutions across multiple industries

LOBA-WAKOL North America is a joint venture between two family-owned businesses in Germany, LOBA GmbH and WAKOL GmbH. Both LOBA and WAKOL develop and manufacture products for the residential and commercial construction industries. The business’s product technology is shared throughout the world for professional and non-professional use.

The LOBA product line includes: Water-based wood finishing products; natural oils; stains; repair kits; sandpaper; maintenance cleaners and industrial coatings.

The WAKOL product lines include adhesives for various industries including floor covering, metal packaging, and the mattress and upholstery industries. WAKOL also produces and distributes subfloor preparation and repair products that include self-leveling underlayment, floor patching, crack repair, and moisture remediation.

Following verified certification criteria for a standardized roadmap toward sustainability

Sustainability has many meanings in our world today. With this in mind, LOBA-WAKOL sought to follow standardized practices laid out by the Green Business Bureau (GBB), for a verified structure detailing how to create a sustainable business. The team focused on developing more sustainable operations, utilizing GBB to identify what they’re currently doing well and how the brand can do better.

GBB’s program has helped LOBA-WAKOL capture the small things, such as in-office initiatives that have a large positive impact on people, while also helping the team identify changes to be made that would improve the business now and for the future. For instance, sustainability efforts focused on people, processes, products, and packaging, measuring up to the brand’s mission: To consistently provide a safe and healthy atmosphere for workers and every customer. Examples of initiatives that have been successfully introduced include:

  • No single-use plastics;
  • A reduction in paper products;
  • Recycling programs;
  • The reuse of materials;
  • Motion lighting throughout the campus.

These small changes have driven momentum to support the achievement of LOBA-WAKOL’s larger sustainability goals. For instance, the brand has reduced its carbon footprint by identifying the best processes, products, and packaging with a lessened environmental impact, creating a better future for the next generations. Plus, LOBA-WAKOL strives to preserve our forest ecosystems as a proud sponsor of the National Forest Foundation. Many of the brand’s products focus on finishing and maintaining wood floors. Hence this initiative aligned with the brand’s corporate social responsibility pledge to balance profit with the needs of people and the planet.

The Green Business Bureau’s vision, mission, and values align with the thought processes behind sustainability at LOBA-WAKOL. That is, LOBA-WAKOL believes it’s their responsibility as a leading building product manufacturer to be sustainable – to play their part in identifying areas for improvement, while also celebrating their current sustainability achievements.

LOBA-WAKOL is also a member of the United States Green Building Council and participates in the FloorScore certification program designed for the building products industry to certify VOC content. The brand’s goal is to develop products that comply with the LEED low-emitting material requirements and the California Air Resources Board (CARB). Currently, over 90% of WAKOL products contain zero VOC content and over 70% of the LOBA product offerings contain zero VOC and/or meet the VOC emission criteria.

Disrupting the market with sustainable products

In addition to following standardized certification requirements, LOBA-WAKOL has also integrated sustainable thinking into the core of the business offering. For instance, the brand has made many product changes over the years to eliminate hazardous material ingredients. One such change is LOBA’s 2-component water-based finishes for flooring, invented over 30 years ago. In a petroleum urethane-controlled business, this innovation was viewed as a big disruption.

Since then, LOBA has strived to transform traditional solvent formulations into water-based ones, which means better air quality for those manufacturing the product, installing the product, and living with the products on their floors. The business markets and educates their customers on this leading technology and the benefits of using it.

Rising to the challenge and needs of a sustainable business

The path toward improved business sustainability will present challenges. With this in mind, it’s important we look toward businesses like LOBA-WAKOL, who demonstrate a can-do attitude to overcome sustainability obstacles.

Overcoming the challenge of expensive sustainability certification with the Green Business Bureau

As a small business, the cost of sustainability certification acted as a roadblock for LOBA-WAKOL before they discovered the Green Business Bureau. GBB has put together an affordable program that fits with LOBA-WAKOL’s vision: To make to best effort to be sustainable. LOBA-WAKOL admits they’re not 100% where they want to be, but the team is working hard and is making positive changes to meet their goals.

What’s the meaning of business sustainability? Overcoming the challenge of ambiguity

Sustainability has many meanings. There are different views and beliefs on how a company is considered to be sustainable. With this variance in mind, LOBA-WAKOL’s biggest challenge was creating solutions that actually had an impact. Yet, the brand accepted the task and defined sustainable operations that aligned with GBB for the good of the organization and the people served. LOBA-WAKOL considers this a matter of responsibility.

Operating for the greater good to create a better future for our children

“LOBA-WAKOL North America is a collection of over 100 years of technology, experience, and passion. We can proudly say that we have the best people on our team and we all strive to develop the best products in the world that will have a positive impact on future generations.”Ashley Carter, General Manager at LOBA-WAKOL LLC

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