Great case study from Hellen MacArthur Foundation based on a Dutch office furniture company Royal Ahrend, which has started to shift the sector onto a different trajectory by putting circular economy principles at the heart of their business.
Fast turnover and mostly linear
Once office furniture falls out of use, through wear, tear, breakages or as a result of business relocations or closures, furniture typically enters the municipal waste stream, ending up either in landfill or incinerated for energy. According to European Federation of Furniture Manufacturers (UEA) statistics, in Europe as a whole, 80-90% of all furniture ends its life in this way.
This high turnover ‘fast furniture’ model is exceedingly wasteful in a material sense, with the result that a substantial amount of resources (energy, labour, water) embedded in products are lost at the point of disposal. The loss in value and associated negative environmental and social impacts, mean that there is a clear case to rethink office furniture design and delivery mechanisms.
At Circular Impact we believe that new solution will come to life for the office fitting out and that not only furniture will be propose as a service ( FAAS) bu the full Offices Equipements can be design in such a way that can fit the purpose for several users .
The challenge - Demand for office furniture is growing rapidly, by 2024, the size of the industry will be about USD100 billion dollars. Manufacturing office furniture requires a lots of materials and energy and 80-90% of these valuable resources are lost after a short use period. How can the office furniture industry address rising demand in an increasingly resource constrained world?
The solution - Ahrend manufactures office furniture products with modularity, disassembly, and life extension as core design principles. In this way repair, upgrades, and modifications are easily achieved so that every single product can have multiple lives.
What makes it circular? Ahrend offers their customers furniture-as-a-service (FAAS) where customers pay a monthly fee and return the furniture when they no longer need it.
What are the benefits? A reduction in material usage and carbon emissions; closer relationships with customers, more profits, and a more secure materials supply chain; lower office set up costs and more flexibility in a fast-changing business environment.
FAAS protects Ahrend's future material supply chain and offers customers more flexibility