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This week, in addition to Habitare, we’ve attended ID Helsinki as well. A lot of food for thought! We had the pleasure of listening to seminars by Kinnarps and Sitra to name a few. Kinnarps is an interesting company manufacturing furniture mostly for business environments, who has put a lot of thought into how they produce their products. Tomas Ekström from Kinnarps, Director Corporate Sustainability, talked about company values and how small things do matter. The raw materials are chosen wisely and sustainably without harming the environment nor the people in it. In order to truly explain this, Kinnarps played a little trick on their audience at Almedalsveckan in Visby, Sweden. In order to truly believe that their furniture includes no harmful substances or chemicals, they disassembled an office chair, grind it to powder, and mixed it with ordinary flour and baked bread! This bread was then served their guests. This was truly an eye opener, because this is unfortunately not the case in all furniture manufacturers. Safety is of course an important factor when designing anything, but today many furniture suppliers are adding flame retardants to their products. These chemicals are bioaccumulative, which means that they are accumulated in our bodies. The crazy fact is, that only 50 % of all people can at some point in their lives, get rid of these chemicals. This 50 % are breast feeding women… That is enough for anybody to understand the seriousness of the matter.
So, what can we do about it? The first thought that came to our mind when discussing this after the seminar, was how much responsibility lies on the consumer! How are we supposed to know? Well, you can’t know if you don’t dig a little bit deeper. However, in todays world, with all information at our fingertips, you can check the furniture producers website for more information regarding sustainability; health and safety among employees, how materials are resourced and other green values. Many products are today certified in order to guarantee a more sustainable choice. To learn more about this you can check out Kinnarps’ sustainability pages and here you can find an index of eco labels to get you started.
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