How are we sustainable?
At Environment Furniture, environmental stewardship is our responsibility and our privilege. In creating unique furniture collections from reclaimed, recycled, and sustainably harvested wood, we show our respect for nature’s bounty and reaffirm our deep commitment to sustainability. This attention to the provenance of our raw materials differentiates us from other furniture-makers, and positions us to meet growing demand for environmentally sound products.
This year we made important progress in identifying and addressing our environmental impacts in three key areas: (1) Furniture-making; including the materials that we use and the ways we source them; (2) Operations; the impacts associated with our factory, office, and retail locations; and (3) Awareness-raising; through outreach to our customers, retailers, and other stakeholders.
1) OUR FURNITURE-MAKING PROCESS
Sustainable wood sourcing. We continue to search for new supplies of sustainably sourced wood certified by third party programs, including but not limited to Tropical Forrest Trust, Forest Stewardship Council, and Sustainable Forestry Initiative. In addition, we are introducing new reclaimed hardwoods from industrial sectors to establish new collections.
Production materials. We use ultra low volatile organic carbon (VOC) emitting stains & lacquers during our production process and only use low VOC paint that is lead-free and non-toxic. We use water-based finishes from Sayerlack’s HydroPlus line of products, which has been awarded the European Union’s Ecolabel certification.
Shipping materials. We are establishing recycling programs within our delivery operations and with our warehouse partners for the variety of packaging materials we use to ship our products.
2) ADDRESSING OUR OPERATIONAL IMPACTS
Accounting for our carbon footprint
Global climate change is an issue that no responsible company an ignore. At Environment Furniture, we are committed to reducing our carbon footprint aggressively and quickly. We conducted our initial greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory in 2006 and have now collected three years of data. By analyzing this information, we can see the effects that changes in our business activities have had on our carbon footprint.
Carbon footprint. We have now completed our third greenhouse gas inventory, which examines our 2008 carbon emissions that resulted from sourcing, processing, transportation, solid waste, and energy use. Our net carbon footprint has decreased by almost 180 metric tons over the period 2006-2008.
Carbon neutrality. As part of our greenhouse gas emissions reduction strategy we purchase verified carbon credits through Native Energy and the U.S. Forest Service to offset 100% of emissions that we cannot avoid – in effect becoming carbon neutral.
Solid waste. We are committed this year to conduct a solid waste audit at our Indonesian manufacturing facility to optimize waste minimization and recycling strategies there.
Office and retail greening. We follow a green operations guide at our corporate office and all of our retail facilities and have implemented a company-wide recycling and paper policy.
Corporate purchasing. We aim to purchase the most sustainable inputs we can for our energy supply, paper products, office furnishings, and cleaning supplies. We also screen our vendors against a list of environmental performance criteria.
3) REACHING OUT TO OUR CUSTOMERS AND RETAILERS
Raising awareness. Our store displays provide information about the environmental attributes of our products, and we will be phasing in the use of TFT tags where appropriate. We connect with customers and retail partners face-to-face at sales conferences, and we also use our website, brochures, newsletters, and email messages to communicate our environmental performance.
Seeking your feedback. Despite our progress, we realize there is more work to do. We’re asking all of our stakeholders—our customers, employees, retailers, and suppliers—to share with us your questions, concerns, thoughts, and ideas.