Many companies that produce environmentally friendly furniture enjoy commercial success. In addition to sustainability, end customers appreciate quality and good design, and they are happy to pay more for it.
Producing eco-friendly furniture is worthwhile, and not just for a company’s image. The increasing number of commercially successful manufacturers are claiming to follow ecological principles are proof of this trend.
Some have long focused on the issue of sustainability, which has become a megatrend in recent years. Environmentally aware companies are rewarded with satisfied and loyal end customers.
The furniture ranges of these companies are developed in cooperation with renowned designers and are noted for their high quality and durability.
When it comes to production, these firms take care to ensure they do not have a negative impact on people or the environment, they are powered by renewable energies and use resources sparingly.
Consumers are happy to pay higher prices for furniture like this that is environmentally friendly and produced with great care. Participants in PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PwC) recent study into the state of the German furniture industry are prepared to spend around 40 percent more on a sustainably manufactured coffee table.
For 73 percent of those surveyed, eco-friendliness is a relevant criterion when buying furniture.
One of the pioneering names Rolf Benz is leading the sustainability trend. They use eco-label which certifies upholstered furnishings such as the stylish ‘Rondo’ range of sofas are produced with low emissions.
The manufacture of the leathers and fabrics used for collections is also certified. In addition to functionality, the criteria for awarding the label also include the availability of replacement parts as well as options for the environmentally friendly recycling and disposal of the seating.
All the materials used by innovative manufacturer for its furniture are recyclable. Sustainability and their ability to biodegrade play an important role in the firm’s choice of wood, foam, covering materials and steel.
One company called e15 uses energy-efficient equipment to manufacture its furniture. The company also consciously shortens transport distances by using local suppliers. The quality of the range, featuring was designed by internationally renowned designers such as Stefan Diez in Frankfurt, Germany.
In the production of its striking wooden furniture, Riva 1920, one of the famous furniture manufacturer in Italy, uses only solid wood from American suppliers committed to the SmartWood forestry certification programme.
This is an indication of responsible forest management. In addition, the traditional Italian company uses glues that do not contain formaldehyde or other toxic substances.
The surfaces of furnishings, for example ‘Reel’, a stool with the scent of cedar wood, are only treated with natural oils and waxes. Much attention has been paid as much as possible to keeping production waste to a minimum as it does to maintaining material quality.
Some Swedish companies are closely linked to the names of famous modernist architects such as Alvar Aalto and Arne Jacobsen, whose furniture still features in its range.
All new products had to pass rigorous durability tests. Swedish companies use alternatives to chrome such as aluminum or lacquer coatings, and the fabrics used bear eco-labels. High standards of sustainability are part of the design strategy.
Since 2011, one Austrian manufacturer has been managing its own forests according to sustainable criteria. These trees serve as the material source for modern eco-furniture made of pure, natural wood.
The waste wood produced during manufacture is used in the company’s workshop to generate heat. What’s more, intelligently controlled production systems and lighting ensure that no more electricity is consumed than necessary.
Perfect design that keeps its promises and meets ecological standards is also an important aspect of a sustainable lifestyle, according to the manufacturer’s website.
Whether a piece of furniture is made from wood, cloth, metal, plastic, or whatever else, there are earth-friendly options. When cave people realized that boulders weren't the most comfortable things to sit on, wood was almost certainly where they looked.
The world needs more trees, not less, so practices that lead to deforestation aren't any good. Not only do trees absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen, they keep the surface of the planet cool, they hold soil together so it can stay rich, and they provide the habitat that animals, insects, birds, and other plants call home, not to mention they support many people's livelihood. Simply put, don't mess with the trees.
There are sustainable ways to harvest wood, however. Wood from sustainably harvested forests, sustainably harvested tree farms, and reclaimed wood are the main sources. Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is a great standard of certification that controls clear-cutting and promotes good working conditions.
If wood is taken care of, and sometimes even if it isn't, it can last a long time.
A lot of designers think people are able to make good use of all the wood that's already out there and are doing just that.
Reclaimed wood usually comes from old furniture, houses, or other built things that are ready for some friendly reincarnation, from flawed wood, or from scraps from a factory that makes other stuff.
Some reclaimed wood even comes from logs that sunk to the bottom of rivers as they were being floated downstream to the sawmill, or from the bottom of man-made reservoirs.
Either way, furniture made from reclaimed wood is a great example of resource efficiency, but usually comes in shorter supply. The Rainforest Alliance has a Rediscovered Wood Certification label to look for.