Posted on 4th July 2018
There are many qualities that we think office furniture should possess: ergonomics, durability, value for money, aesthetics... and sustainability.
Whilst the idea of furniture being sustainable and recyclable may not be the first one to come to mind when planning and fitting a new or existing workspace, this concept is very important not only for the future of the environment per se, but also for the preservation and improvement of our human wellbeing through a holistic approach.
For example, did you know that office furniture can emit and release harmful chemicals in the air? Imagine a newly furnished office with hundreds of furniture pieces, all emitting these chemicals which are then inhaled by the employees.
The pursuit of convenience and cheap materials has driven the use of less than ideal resources, depleting natural assets, causing harm to those that are left and compromising the health of humans and the environment.
The good news is that many product manufacturers have already been working towards increasing sustainability for years and some for decades, so we are pleased to offer a portfolio of sustainable furniture that won't cost the earth (and our health).
The Design for the Environment, also known as DfE, is an approach that looks into every aspect of the manufacturing process, from the sourcing of the minerals and row materials, to the carbon footprint of the manufacturing process, the product packaging, longevity and the end-of-life potential. In addition to particularly long warranties (between 10 and 15 years depending on selection), some manufacturers offer to re-purpose products which would otherwise end up on landfill, some offer high recyclability levels, some both.
We're pleased to be working with a large number of manufacturers from across the globe. Here are three brands that have a long tracked record in sustainability efforts.
Part of the Scandinavian group of brands Flokk, HÅG has been a pioneer in sustainability for almost 30 years. They appointed their first Environmental Manager in 1990 and since then have been presented with several awards for their environmental achievements. Their Capisco chairs won the 2005 European Best Recycled Plastic Product award, backed by the EPRO. More recently, Flokk has joined the Floke project and a series of initiatives to explore and improve the supply-and-demand for non-virgin plastics. You can expect chairs that are certified EU Ecolabel, Oeko-Tex® Standard 100 and are 100% free of heavy metals.
When it comes to DfE, Herman Miller have their own dedicated team, who engage with designers and engineers to assess materials, assembly/disassembly, recyclability, packaging, and potential waste generation. Overall, over 500 people work directly or indirectly on Herman Miller environmental initiatives. We're also impressed by the number of certifications on the New Aeron Chair: BIFMA level™ 3, CRADLE TO CRADLE™ Silver, GREENGUARD, GREENGUARD GOLD.
Humanscale offer a remarkable 15-year warranty on their seating range, ensuring a long-lasting product. Environmental certifications include LEED, SCS Global Services, Greenguard, ANSI/BIFMA level® 1, and ANSI/ BIFMA level® 2. Because of the efficient simplicity of Humanscale chairs, fewer parts and materials are needed to achieve the final product. The company is also a member of the U.N. Global Compact which focuses not only on environmental efforts but also on labour conditions and human rights.
At Back2 we are happy to provide any information and required documentation to help you put together the ideal sustainable office. Simply contact one of our advisers to find out more.