As the world evolves into a green and environmentally conscious place, there has never been a larger focus on industrial footprints. The awareness of acting with the future in mind has had a massive influence on the furniture market, with companies increasing their focus on the impact of their operations. A recent poll conducted by Capstrat Public Policy demonstrated just how important sustainable living is to many consumers. The poll found that over half of the shoppers surveyed would be willing to pay for a product that was more expensive than the other options if it was more sustainable. So with the demand there, the movement has naturally begun.
By showing a desire and commitment to eco-friendly manufacturing and products, it allows companies to do their environmental part as well as cut operational costs whilst promoting welcome company values to gain customer loyalty. Below we’ve listed some of the ways these furniture companies are changing to make their efforts greener.
Shared Interest Organizations
New and established bodies are taking an avid lead in making the green more a priority in the furniture sector. Whether its offering memberships, certifications or benefits, these groups have unified the industry around the core sustainability efforts, creating new operational standards to help firms access and improve their current procedures. In addition, their efforts have made sustainability issues more visible to customers, while also creating convenient avenues for buyers to research the environmental implications of their potential purchases.
Other industry organizations spearheading sustainability efforts include the Business and Institutional Manufacturers Association, which has created a certification program to ensure responsible energy consumption, material sourcing, and social practices among the business furnishings industry. At the same time, the Sustainable Furnishings Council has worked on the frontlines of sustainability efforts since its inception in 2006. Supported by a diverse group of industry stakeholders encompassing retailers, manufacturers, and nonprofit environmental groups, the council leverages education and communication to advocate for sustainable practices throughout the furnishings industry.
Furniture companies, especially those in the rattan industry are now scouting materials from sustainably managed sources – from the material itself to how the product is gathered and distributed. As a result, this has increase the importance of local sourcing, if possible, as well as rising the popularity of wood as a design material. Both reclaimed wood and wood harvested from sustainable forests help to combat deforestation, and some companies are even trying to replenish those forests that provide their wood.
Whilst those in the industry will argue it’s a grass type not wood, bamboo, which is used for things like cane furniture is a highly popular, sustainable material in the furniture game. The material grows quickly, doesn’t need pesticides and is an easy to replace resource. Durability is one of the main benefits to the material along with it being antibacterial and antifungal.
One of the largest components of sustainable resource consumption is recycling and responsible waste management. The recycled perception has changed too. No longer are recycled ranges a frowned upon thrift shop purchase. Today, the retro, used concept is a trend, with unique sustainable designs being key in attracting sales. This is not only limited to design but manufacturing and distribution too. Things like reusable cartons, blanket wraps and other sustainable, recycled materials are being used to ship items to customers.
Cut Down on Toxic Treatments
As you’ll have gathered sustainability is key in the future of furniture, which has led to companies reviewing the chemicals they are using in their production processes. Take conservatory furniture, if one this has been bent into shape, a finish, treatment or even binding agent is used to create the final piece – it creates a risk to consumers and the environment during manufacturing. Furniture manufactured with formaldehyde or flame-retardant chemicals can release toxic gases into the home in a process known as “off-gassing,” posing a risk to humans, animals, and the environment. The avoidance of materials and processes that involve toxic materials not only stems from growing environmental awareness within the furniture industry, but also from bolstered environmental regulations. These regulations have enforced a change in most industries, meaning that the furniture sector had to change, regardless of whether it wanted to. With formal laws being put in place, it suggests future scrutiny, meaning that sustainable methods need to be sought out and implemented now to make the right change for the environment in the future.