Green is in: Sustainable office furniture trends.
By Helena Pumberger, 17.02.2023
The production, delivery and disposal of an average office chair in toto cause the same amount of CO2 as producing five kilograms of conventional beef. Prior to every decision to buy, we usually assess the product based on price/performance, material, design and necessity. If this evaluation turns out to be predominantly positive, we conclude the buying process. But one important point is often overlooked: Is my product at all sustainable?
Sustainability is gaining in significance in nearly all areas of life. And this trend won’t pass office equipment by. Greenwashing and a sea of eco-labels don’t impress any more and haven’t done for a long time. The following trends are evident in the office sector:
For simple, everyday things like apples from the region, it’s still relatively easy to assess the degree of sustainability. It becomes more difficult for more complex products such as office furniture, in which the supply chains and the industrial manufacture have to be included in calculations. Ecological transparency helps us here. Precise calculations on CO2 consumption and further relevant effects on the environment outline how ecological a specific article of furniture is, and leave the evaluation of the product to the end customer. Wiesner-Hager has positioned itself here as trailblazer. The eco-balances – Environmental Product Declaration (EPDs) – certified under ISO 14025 can be requested for every product in every version and reflect the entire life cycle of the piece of furniture.
High-quality office furniture is basically more sustainable than cheaply made alternatives. Quality furniture is distinctive for its long service life. So it doesn’t have to be replaced or disposed of for many years. This is good for the environment and for the purse.
Regenerative raw materials like wood are at present trending again and are climate-neutral in essence. But one type of wood isn’t always like another – what counts is the origin: for example, Wiesner-Hager opts for PEFC or FSC certified timbers from sustainably managed forest stock.
Reuse instead of throwaway.
The call for re-manufacturing, in other words re-using used furniture parts is becoming ever louder. In this model, old products are taken back from customers and disassembled. Individual parts or modular units are processed and used for new furniture. The customer thus receives a product that’s practically new in value and with a much better CO2 ratio than a brand new one.
Of all materials, plastic has the worst reputation. Large pieces of plastic and micro-plastic are choking the oceans. Nowadays, however, recycled synthetic materials are increasingly being used, particularly PET (from the polyester family). There are many possibilities of using recycled plastic in office furniture. You can find old plastic for example in compressed non-wovens for partitions and fabric upholstery for chairs and acoustic elements.
Made in Europe.
The shorter the distance from the production site to the end customer, the lower the CO2 emission. If you take care when buying office furniture that the transportation distances are short, as with products stamped Made in Europe, you are acting more sustainably. Wiesner-Hager make all their products in Austria and in Humpolec in the Czech Republic.