As consumers become more aware of their carbon footprint, they are starting to demand products made with sustainable, eco-friendly methods and materials. Fortunately, many companies are rising to meet this request. Certain brands go to great lengths to create environmentally conscious packaging, manufacturing processes, and recycling initiatives. These practices are not only helping to reduce their environmental impact, but they are also helping these companies become more profitable. 

Environmental initiatives can benefit all areas of business–including supply chain, brand value, and company reputation. It can reduce costs, create more jobs, and connect businesses to other environmentally conscious organisations. Becoming a steward of the environment has never been easier, and it can have a big payoff.

So, exactly how are furniture manufacturers going green? Below we outline four ways businesses are saving through eco-friendly initiatives. 

Creating Eco-Friendly Facilities 

LED Lighting in a Factory. Image: Matrix LED

An essential step in going green is to create an environmentally-friendly facility. Companies can conduct a quick energy audit to determine where energy is wasted. Wasted energy equates to wasted money and is also a drain on the planet. Once audited, companies can replace electric motors with newer, energy-efficient models. They can also adopt strategies to reduce waste, such as switching to energy-efficient lighting or using sensor triggered lighting that comes on only when employees are in the building.

LED lighting can help manufacturers reduce their carbon footprint. In fact, just one LED bulb can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by half a ton. LED lighting also drastically reduces energy costs. In 2018, Walmart stores replaced all traditional bulbs with LED light fixtures and reduced their overall energy cost by $100 million. Many professional sports venues have followed suit, including Minneapolis’ US Bank Stadium. 

Recycling and Reducing Waste

Next to energy efficiency, companies are also going green by reducing their waste. Similar to an energy audit, companies can start this process by determining what raw materials can be reused or recycled. Additionally, this audit can help them identify where valuable materials are being wasted. Knowing where the majority of waste is coming from is the first step in reducing waste and saving money. 

Green Materials 

Bamboo is a hardy, strong material which can replace synthetics and also requires a great deal less water to grow and regenerate than other plant. Image: Interesting Engineering

Many manufacturers rely on synthetic materials that pollute our water, air, and soil. Over time, runoff from these plants has contributed to a host of health conditions, not to mention the disruption to local ecosystems and contamination of food and water. Switching to more natural, sustainable, and non-toxic production methods can prevent damage to the environment and help keep employees and local residents safe.

Companies can do this by using materials harvested without damage to the ecosystem or depletion of the resource. They can also use raw materials gathered from post-consumer waste or renewable crops. Opting for non-toxic adhesives and packaging materials will also keep the consumer safe once they bring the product into their home.

Green Jobs

With more companies opting for greener manufacturing methods and materials, the number of eco-friendly jobs has increased. Since green initiatives take place at every level of business, companies can start to look for organisations that provide the products and services they need to go green. 

For example, electrical engineers who improve energy efficiency, technicians that help to conserve natural resources, and health and safety officials who confirm plants meet environmental regulations. This push for eco-conscious initiatives creates more green jobs. In fact, 2019 research shows the US alone employs 9.5 million green employees. This number has increased by roughly 20 percent every year since 2012. The more these companies implement eco-friendly methods, the more this industry will grow. 

Overall, these measures are a huge step forward in terms of environmental production, but they are also helping businesses run a more productive operation. The organisations in place today make it easier than ever for brands to keep the planet in mind while also running a successful company.

Furniture manufacturers and retailers from around the world will be exhibiting at The Australian International Furniture Fair (AIFF), 16 – 19 July at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre. Co-located with Decor + Design, this is the premier networking and buying event for the industry. A special feature in 2020 will be the Sustainability Hub, an interactive, design-led installation that will explore the latest in conscious design. Discover innovative new materials that eliminate waste and make clever use (or re-use) of materials.

Register now for free trade entry to the exhibition and plan your trip!

Article by guest contributor Joe Robinson from Amerisleep