All posts by Adam Hassin

Sustainability Award Success

Ulster Carpets have won The Flooring Show’s Sustainability Award – the second award this year that has recognised our Sustainability Strategy.

The Flooring Show – hosted this week in Harrogate – is the UK’s largest flooring event and for over 60 years it has attracted thousands of retailers, contractors, distributors, fitters, designers and developers.

Carol Howson, Sustainability & Product Engineer at Ulster Carpets, said,

“We are delighted that the judges at The Flooring Show have recognised our Sustainability Strategy.

“As a family company, protecting the planet is an important part of our ethos. When we launched our Sustainability Strategy earlier this year we wanted to be as transparent as possible about our journey towards Net Zero.

“We have already taken many positive steps forward and, as our history has proven, we will continue to innovate to make our manufacturing processes more energy efficient and develop new products that meet the growing demand for environmentally friendly carpets.

“By using wool in every carpet we already have a great starting point and we are determined to build on our track record as an industry innovator to refine our manufacturing processes and drive through the change that our sector needs.”

The aim of The Flooring Show’s Sustainability Award is to shine a spotlight on the manufacturers striving to make their products and processes more sustainable and we’re delighted that our efforts have been recognised.

The judges looked at what policies we have in place to reduce our environmental impact, our eco-friendly product ranges and, importantly, our sustainability goals over the next five years. As outlined in our Sustainability Strategy, these include:

  • 50% reduction in carbon emissions
  • 18.5% reduction in energy intensity
  • 5% reduction in water consumption
  • 20% reduction in waste
  • 5% reduction in packaging

This is the second time this year that our efforts to protect the planet have been recognised. In June, we won the Best Sustainable Business at The Irish News Workplace & Employment Awards in a competitive category that included Coca-Cola, Greiner Packaging, Musgrave Northern Ireland, JP Corry and Hastings Hotels.

Read more about our Sustainability Strategy

Ulster Carpets The Flooring Show Sustainability Award Winners
Andrew Gicquel, Retail Sales Manager, is presented with The Flooring Show’s Sustainability Award.
The majestic wool rich Axminster carpets for the Coronation of King Charles III at Westminster Abbey were manufactured by Ulster Carpets. Photo by Andrew Matthews - WPA Pool/Getty Images


As Royal Warrant holders, we are honoured to have designed, manufactured and installed over 1,000m2 of majestic wool rich Axminster carpets for the Coronation of King Charles III at Westminster Abbey.

This year marks the 85th anniversary of Ulster Carpets, a fourth-generation family-owned company, and this momentous milestone will be marked by a place in history.

Nick Coburn CBE, Group Managing Director, said, “When my grandfather founded Ulster Carpets, he could not have envisaged that his company would earn such a unique honour.

“There is a real sense of pride at being involved in the Coronation and we see this as a tribute to the hard work and dedication of generations of our staff over the last 85 years.”

This isn’t the first time that Ulster Carpets have worked with the Royal Family. Last year, Ulster became one of the final companies to receive a Royal Warrant from Queen Elizabeth II, having worked on a number of projects for the Royal Household.

Joyce McIvor, UK and Ireland Contract Sales Director, led the team at Ulster Carpets on the historic Coronation project, working in conjunction with leading events company, Identity.

“We are thrilled to play a major part in this historically significant event. We were recommended to Identity by the Royal Household, which demonstrates the high esteem in which Ulster Carpets are held.

“Working closely with Identity we developed a range of colour samples for the Royal Household to choose from. We also had to consider the technical aspects of the construction such as pile height and direction, to ensure the carpet not only looked sensational, but performed to the very highest standards on the day.

“Our attention to detail shone through at every stage and that is testament to the dedication of our hard-working staff. We have worked for a host of prestigious clients across the world but this ranks as one of the most important projects in our 85-year history.”

Lois Norman, a Senior Field Designer based in Ulster’s London Design Studio, took inspiration for the carpet colours from several sources.

“We researched past Coronations and historic events at Westminster Abbey and also took into consideration elements such as the colour of the robes and adornments the King would be wearing, the prominent tones within the Abbey and even the Heraldic cyphers of the Royal Household.

“A more unusual aspect for us was that we had to consider how the carpet would look on TV. Everything had to work together in harmony and, in the end, the final choice of colours was influenced by Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation – a fitting tribute to the dedication she displayed during her years of service to the nation.

“This is by far the most prestigious project I have ever worked on and one I am so proud to have been involved in.”

For the Coronation, Ulster Carpets commissioned another family business, Trade Carpet Company, to install the two resplendent carpets at Westminster Abbey.

Joyce added, “Trade Carpet Company have again proven their expertise and we are delighted with the professional installation at Westminster Abbey for the Coronation. It has been a pleasure to continue our long-standing relationship on such an important project.”

Ulster Carpets 85th anniversary Family Fun Day 2023

Celebrating 85 years in the community

Ulster Carpets 85th anniversary Family Fun Day
Celebrating 85 years of Ulster Carpets are (from left) Edward Wilson, Past Group Chairman; John Wilson, Group Chairman; and Nick Coburn, Group Deputy Chairman and Managing Director. Edward is the son of company founder, George Walter Wilson and John and Nick are the founder’s grandsons.

This year we are celebrating 85 years of supporting the community.

The milestone was marked with a Family Fun Day at our head office in Portadown that supported a wide range of local business and celebrated our place at the heart of the community.

Now a globally successful company, our headquarters has remained on the same site in Portadown that the company was formed on in 1938.

Ulster Carpets is also still owned and run by the family of founder, George Walter Wilson, and his motivation for starting the company remains central to Ulster’s philosophy.

During the 1930s, like most of the UK and Ireland, people in Portadown were facing the Great Depression with traditional industries in severe decline and unemployment levels at a record high. To combat this, Mr Wilson explored different manufacturing opportunities that would create much-needed employment for people in the town.

Ulster Carpets was officially registered in 1938 with 19 employees based on the site of a former linen mill. Fast-forward 85 years and the Ulster Carpets Group now employs over 700 people across the world.

Nick Coburn, Managing Director, said, “When my grandfather started Ulster Carpets, his key objective was to support the local community by creating jobs that the people in Portadown and the surrounding areas so badly needed.

“From that simple idea of helping people into employment, we have grown to become one of the town’s largest employers, with carpets designed and manufactured in Portadown now found in homes, hotels, casinos and cruise ships across the world.

“My grandfather would be proud of how his successful his company has become and of the fact that we have been granted a Royal Warrant.”

From job creation, the community ethos at Ulster Carpets remains important.

“As we have grown, supporting the local community has remained an important philosophy for Ulster Carpets. Both as a company and through The John Wilson Memorial Trust we continue to help local businesses, charities, community organisations and sports groups to build a stronger society.”

Ulster Carpets acquires design-led Alternative Flooring

Ulster Carpets has announced the acquisition of Alternative Flooring.

An iconic independent British brand, Alternative Flooring is an ethically conscious designer and supplier of high-quality flooring with a quirky twist. The Hampshire-based company will now join the range of complementary flooring companies within the successful Ulster Carpets Group.

The acquisition further underlines Ulster Carpets’ belief in high quality, design-led, customer-focused UK businesses.

David Acheson, Ulster’s Strategic Development Director, said, “We believe that the Ulster Carpets Group is a fitting home for Alternative Flooring in terms of culture, outlook and ambition. Alternative will remain an independent, autonomous brand within the Ulster Carpets Group, but with the added expertise and resources to strengthen its capability, service, and product range. It is good news for Alternative’s valued customers, key suppliers, and exceptional employees.”

For more than 25 years, Alternative Flooring has been providing flooring to fall in love with, with a focus on inspiring people to express their personality through colour, pattern, and texture. The company’s award-winning flooring products are ethically sourced, and its Make Me A Rug programme allows any design to be turned into a rug that is hand finished to an exceptional standard at its Hampshire base.

Chris Brammall, retiring Chairman of Alternative Flooring, said, “We are enormously proud of what we have achieved since taking over Alternative Flooring. Securing a bright future for the Alternative brand, together with its employees, customers, and key suppliers, was a major factor in deciding the most suitable home for its next phase of development. This acquisition gives Alternative the opportunity of reaching its considerable potential.”

Winner of Best Sustainable Business Award!

Ulster Carpets have been named as the Best Sustainable Business 2023 at The Irish News Workplace & Employment Awards.

Shortlisted in a competitive category that includes Coca-Cola, Greiner Packaging, Musgrave Northern Ireland, JP Corry and Hastings Hotels, the judges said: “Our winner walked all over the opposition here! This company has launched its own sustainability strategy as the next step in a long history of market-leading innovations, and it has also developed and patented its own unique weaving technology.”

The award was in recognition of our recently launched Sustainability Strategy that outlines the enormous strides we have made towards protecting the planet over the last 85 years. Importantly, the strategy also looks ahead by setting key targets for reductions in 2025.

Beverley Copeland, Director Organisation Development at Ulster Carpets, said, “We are delighted to be presented with this award and to receive recognition of our Sustainability Strategy.

“As a company we have a proud history of innovation and, as our Sustainability Strategy outlines, we remain committed to playing our part in protecting the planet.”

Read more about our Sustainability Strategy here –

You can also read more about the Irish News Workplace & Employment Awards HERE  

Platinum Jubilee Rug unveiled at Ulster Carpets

The winner of the Northern Ireland Office’s Platinum Jubilee design competition and Minister of State for Northern Ireland Conor Burns have returned to Ulster Carpets for the unveiling of a special Platinum Jubilee gift for Her Majesty the Queen from the young people of Northern Ireland.

Dundonald Primary School pupil Emily McMullan (11), was announced as the winner of the competition by Minister of State Conor Burns in June, and met with Ulster Carpets designers to learn how her design was being turned into a special gift for Her Majesty the Queen.

Emily’s design, featuring some of Northern Ireland’s most iconic landmarks such as Samson and Goliath in Belfast and the North Coast’s Giant’s Causeway, was woven into a rug by Ulster Carpets’ expert team, and unveiled by Emily and Minister of State Conor Burns at the manufacturing company’s Portadown headquarters on Tuesday 23 August.

Emily’s postcard to the Queen was chosen from over 2000 colourful and creative entries, with primary schools across Northern Ireland offered the opportunity to take part in a unique design competition as part of this year’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

The specially designed Jubilee rug will be delivered to Her Majesty the Queen as a gift from the children of Northern Ireland in her Jubilee year and Emily will also receive her own copy of the rug as a lasting memory of the important role that she has played in helping Her Majesty celebrate her Platinum Jubilee.

Speaking about seeing the rug, competition winner Emily McMullan said:

“It’s amazing to see all of the places that remind me of home being made into a gift for Her Majesty the Queen. I still can’t believe that something I designed in art class is now being delivered to the Queen!

“It has been great learning from the designers at Ulster Carpets about how they turn art into rugs and carpets. It is something that I will never forget and I think I would like to be a designer in the future.”

Emily McMullan (11) with her Platinum Jubilee Rug, Minister of State Conor Burns and Ulster Carpets Group Managing Director Nick Coburn

Speaking after the visit, Minister of State Conor Burns said:

“It seems like only a few weeks ago when I was on the phone to Nick from a primary school in Bournemouth. I told him I’d had an idea and asked him to tell me honestly if it was crazy. Thankfully Nick and his team at Ulster Carpets are as open minded as they are creative. Nick said let’s do it. So the Platinum Jubilee Rug Competition was conceived.

“Little did I imagine then that it would be embraced so wholeheartedly by Northern Ireland’s young people. Yet the entries flooded in – over 2000 from schools of every kind in every county. Emily, her fellow finalists and indeed every child who entered can be incredibly proud of their designs.

“They have captured the natural and built wonder of this amazing place. Today I have seen the finished product and it is beyond my wildest dreams. We asked the young people to design a rug on the theme ‘a postcard from Northern Ireland’. What they did and Ulster carpets have produced is literally a gift fit for the Queen.

“I am bursting with pride in what these wonderful young people – the future of Northern Ireland – have done and I thank them sincerely.”

Group Managing Director of Ulster Carpets Nick Coburn said:

“It has been a great privilege to be involved in the NIO’s Platinum Jubilee design competition and to have the honour of manufacturing a rug for Her Majesty the Queen, particularly in the same year as we received the Royal Warrant.

“The designs created by schoolchildren from across Northern Ireland demonstrate the immense artistic talent that we have in our country. As we look to the future, it is reassuring to know that Ulster Carpets can transform this potential into the carpet designers of the future.”

Minister of State Conor Burns with competition winner Emily McMullan and Ulster Carpet’s Dalreen Buchanan