Sourcing Sustainable Office Furniture
The Business Case for sustainability
UK (United Kingdom) businesses are under increasing pressure to demonstrate their eco-credentials and commit to improvements. Following the pandemic, awareness has increased among the public. The result is that many businesses are setting ambitious goals to make sustainability a key part of business decisions.
From cost efficiency to talent attraction, there’s a clear business case for being environmentally conscious. Sustainable procurement is one area where facilities management can make a significant impact. Environmentally friendly office furniture is widely available, but is only sustainable if it remains part of a circular economy plan. Buyers should consider a product’s end of life at the point of purchase. Manufacturer’s should consider a product’s end of life at the design stage.
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Eco-Friendly Furniture Manufacturing
Every year 10 million tons of furniture is discarded in the EU – the majority of which is incinerated or destined for landfill (WRAP)
Furniture companies can no longer ignore the negative impact on the environment. With a policy of ‘nothing goes to landfill’, Bureau is a champion of the circular economy. The goal of the circular economy is to replicate the natural world which retains valuable resources in a constant loop. Cradle to cradle manufacture reduces waste and the draining of virgin materials.
The circular economy is based on three principles driven by design: —
- Eliminate waste and pollution
- Keep products and materials in use
- Regenerate natural systems
Sustainable Furniture Design
Key features of sustainable commercial furniture solutions include the following: —
- Furniture which is built to last and can be restored or repaired. The lifespan can therefore be extended even beyond its guarantee
- ‘Heirloom’ furniture which doesn’t follow trends and is designed to be passed on to future generations
- Furniture which has few components and can be easily disassembled so that materials can be re-used or recycled
- Recycling of waste material from the production process to use elsewhere e.g., creating new products or using waste as an energy source.
- Utilising waste products such as discarded plastic bottles, textile waste, fishing nets, which are made into recycled materials.
- Using good quality raw materials which come from a sustainable source and have an appropriate accreditation e.g., Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified wood, cork, rattan, bamboo.
- Recycling materials for production that can then be recycled again at the end of the products lifetime e.g., steel, recycled plastic.
- Local sourcing of materials and components to reduce transport emissions.
- Transparency in the supply chain and manufacturing processes.
- Reduce and recycling of waste packaging used for delivery of workplace solutions.
- Membership of FISP (Furniture Industry Sustainability Programme) the furniture industry’s independently certified sustainability programme for high quality office furniture.
- Carrying a recognised label such as Mobelfakta, EU Ecolabel, Nordic Swan.
- ISO 20400 standard which provides guidance to organisations on integrating sustainability into their procurement practice. This will become an integral part of ISO 14001 on Environmental management systems.
Champions of sustainable furniture brands, the Bureau team have advised global clients who focus on the reduction of their carbon footprint. Our guarantee is that nothing goes to landfill. We offer a sustainable office clearance and move service, recording of sustainable metrics and sustainable contract furniture procurement.
Download our sustainable procurement white paper to find out about sourcing sustainable office furniture in the UK and beyond.