Insights

Furniture Manufacturers – What are they doing to become Carbon Neutral?

As the world pushes to become carbon neutral, the furniture industry is making great strides to environmental sustainability. Cirque looked at some of their manufacturers to see what they are doing to become carbon neutral.

Table of Contents

Furniture Manufacturers – What are they doing to become Carbon Neutral?

As the world pushes to become carbon neutral, the furniture industry is making great strides to environmental sustainability. Cirque looked at some of their manufacturers to see what they are doing to become carbon neutral.

Of the manufacturers that Cirque work with, a handful stood out. These companies have sustainable manufacturing and processes at their core. We looked into four manufacturers to see what actions they are taking to become Carbon Neutral. 

The Senator Group

Based in Accrington, The Senator Group runs its own recycling operation. It is here that they process packaging waste and furniture recycling.

The Senator Group recycle an equivalent piece of material for every item they put to market. They also aim to bring back all cardboard, plastic and polystyrene packaging, as well as customer’s old furniture.

All of Senator’s packaging is fully recyclable and they are setup to reuse as much packaging as ‘reasonably practical’. In the past few years Senator have reused over 500,000 units of packaging. In 2020 they recycled over 600 tonnes of Cardboard and Paper. This is the equivalent of saving over 10,000 trees. By weight this is the same as 500 African Elephants or 7 Boeing 747 Airplanes.

Solar panels power their factories. A biomass boiler has been installed which turns waste such as wood and sawdust into heat for their offices and warehouses.

To go further The Senator Group have created a ‘Sustain Wish List’ initiative. This initiative aims to expand their current furniture donation scheme. Improving community engagement, environmental protection, and local charity support.

You can read more about The Senator’s Group endeavours in their report – https://www.thesenatorgroup.com/media/36228/2020_report.pdf

Modus

Modus are another manufacturer making great efforts to become environmentally aware. They are achieving this partly by improving their manufacturing processes. Modus aim to operate in a ‘circular way’. This means using:

  • a minimal amount energy and materials
  • keeping their products in use as long as possible
  • creating the least amount of waste they can.

Their Headquarters, London showroom and all production facilities draw 100% of their electricity from renewable sources. Modus incentivise and encourage staff to cycle to work or car share to help tackle carbon emissions. They are Carbon Neutral to the PAS 2060 Carbon Neutrality standard, net zero across scope 1 and 2. Read more about that here – https://www.carbontrust.com/what-we-do/assurance-and-certification/carbon-neutral-certification

Modus are a member of the FISP, the Furniture Industry Sustainability Programme – https://www.fira.co.uk/images/FISP-Leaflet-2018.pdf. They are also independently audited on a biennial basis.

DeVorm

Founded in 2005, Dutch company DeVorm was a pioneer in producing furniture from recycled PET. PET Felt is made from recycled PET bottles. It is a soft, though strong material that is durable. This material is recycled as well as recyclable.

The first PET Felt product was the Pod privacy chair. Today the collection consists of many furniture, lighting and acoustic designs made from this versatile and sustainable material.

DeVorm suppliers are all located in Western Europe. This helps minimise transportation and their ecological footprint. By choosing to only work with European suppliers, DeVorm comply with the highest standards and laws for the design industry.

All DeVorm products are assembled in their own energy neutral factory. Assembly is done with compressed air, and power comes from solar panels on the roof. These solar panels power everything, from the computers to the forklift trucks. 

Planq Furniture

Planq Furniture is another sustainable Dutch furniture brand. Planq aims to bridge the gap between contemporary design and environmental consciousness. Describing their practices as circular creations, Planq make beautiful designs from waste materials. Creating the ultimate transformation of low-value materials into high-value products. Planq turn wasted clothing into a material that tells the circular story by its aesthetic.

To create innovative furniture, Planq work with recycled textiles such as denim and bio-based resources. All their wood can be supplied as FSC® certified. This means that it comes from sustainably managed forests, often as oak, walnut, and strong ash.

Workbench

Workbench is a leading British designer and maker of furniture. They are leading the industry in minimising and managing the environmental impacts of their activities, products and services. The United Nations Climate Neutral Now initiative has listed them as climate neutral. Workbench are the first UK office furniture company to measure and list their carbon footprint on the United Nations website.

They have set a carbon reduction plan of 7% for the next year. Over the next 12 months they aim to put in place many improvements to their business; some of which we list below:

  • Invest in software to help assess material usage / carbon content of proposed designs before they go into production.
  • Increase the use of high-quality particle board rather than MDF.
  • Reduce the use of bubble wrap and replace it with a sustainable and re-useable alternative.
  • Offer Carbon Footprint measuring and propose alternative solutions for minimising projects environmental impact. This allows clients to make informed choices when choosing materials.
  • Aim to reduce the number of journeys taken to deliver products.
  • Discourage the use of chrome plating to finish metalwork and offer alternative solutions.

Rawside

Rawside are a British company on a mission to make the world’s most practical furniture whilst causing the least impact. They are registered as Carbon Neutral by Blue Marble.

Rawside go by the ‘4 Rs’; Reduce, Reuse, Reclaim and Recycle.

  • Reduce – By using waste timber to heat their factory, they don’t put more strain on un-renewable energy.
  • Reuse – Aim to reuse materials again and again. By offering replacement components, they can extend a product’s life.
  • Reclaim – Source reclaimed timber and where possible use materials made from recycled content. They have also designed several products that are made from their own off-cuts. 
  • Recycle – Use recycled and recyclable materials where possible. Their linoleum is manufactured from linseed oil and paper dust which makes it biodegradable. All the steel they use is 100% recyclable.

Rawside are offsetting their carbon footprint through the Pacajai Brasil Redd+ Project (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation). This project protects 135,000 hectares of dense Amazon Rainforest and saves 200 million tonnes of Carbon emissions.

For more information on the project visit the Carbon Footprint website: https://www.carbonfootprint.com/vcs_brazil_redd_adpml.html

Conclusion

These are just a selection of examples of how leading furniture manufacturers are striving to make a difference. The way furniture is made is heading towards a more sustainable, greener future. 

There is always more that can be done, but through innovation and care, it is amazing what is being archived. The furniture industry is on a clear path to greater environmental focus.