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Sustainable fashion has been on people’s minds for awhile now, but sustainable furniture hasn’t been as much of a talking point. Perhaps that’s because people buy furniture, for the most part, as a long-term investment, and therefore feel they don’t need to consider sustainability in the same way they would for smaller purchases.
Despite this cognitive dissonance, the way furniture is produced and its effect on both humans and the planet is important. Danish furniture brand Sofacompany understands that it’s not just about what you produce now, but how it’s produce, and how you choose to run your company.
For that reason, Sofacompany has implemented a number of green initiatives; some regarding actual product and others done in an effort to balance the environmental cost of global production. Head of Design Line Nevers Krabbenhøft explains:
“Sustainability is very important to the future of design. With a global middleclass growing very fast, we have to make products or services that are as sustainable as possible. I have a problem-solving design philosophy where I ask: How can we fix people’s sofa problems? How can we improve their lives? How can we take better care of our planet? And how can we make sure everybody involved makes a living?”
She continues, “There is just no argument for not using as little resources as possible, or not to clean up after yourself. Therefore, at Sofacompany are using zero-waste design methods, we are adding more and more recycled fabrics and other sustainable components. We are far from perfect, but it is a journey that has started. And we do our best.”
Sofacompany’s product-based projects are the creation of a rug series made from recycled materials, a sofa series made from recycled plastic, and removable covers for a selection of their sofas.
Their Ocean Velvet rug collection is made of recycled textile and bamboo and comes in a range of rich colors. The velour-like look adds to the plush texture, offering a comfortable and unpretentious look.
Within their impressive number of sofas, the Astha stands out, as it’s available in a fabric made from recycled plastic. A three-person sofa with a sleek, mid-century modern silhouette, the Astha comes in Cura, made from 98% recycled PET plastic bottles. While the use of recycled plastics in textile is imperfect, the main argument against it is that creating washable goods from plastic bottles ends up leaking microplastics back into the water. With an item like a sofa, which doesn’t go through a washing machine, this issue doesn’t hold the same weight. Of course, PET plastic, while recyclable, is not biodegradable. But once it’s on the planet, recycling it unto well-designed items that will be used for a long time (and, preferably, can be mechanically or chemically separated from the other materials in the item) is the most responsible way to use plastic.
The Astha in Cura fabric offers this solution, and the fact that it comes in a timeless design is icing on the cake. In addition to the environmental benefits of the sofa, Sofacompany is donating 5% of all revenue (not profits) to Plastic Change, a non-profit that combats plastic pollution worldwide.
Keeping a sofa for a long time is one thing; having it continue to look good is another. What do you think the ratio is of people who get rid of their sofa because it’s thoroughly broken versus those who get rid of it because it looks shabby? With removable, washable sofa covers, the issue of your sofa looking dingy is removed from the equation.
This is great news for those who want to change up the color or material of their sofa as well. Have kids? Then you know the struggle of keeping a light-colored sofa from looking like a crime scene. The Henry sofa has been made with removable and washable covers, so you can keep it looking clean, or swap out the material, as you wish. This is Sofacompany’s first foray into removable covers, but it’s something they plan to offer on a wider range of sofa in the future.
Designing products with sustainability in mind is a priority for Sofacompany, but so is taking responsibility for any environmental harm via production. As they become more sustainable, their CO2 footprint will diminish, but for the time-being the company is working with Climatepartner to offset emissions caused by production and transport. They’ve chosen to donate to an Amazon-based project that focuses on forest protection.
Finally, Sofacompany has also partnered with Trees for the Future, pledging to plant five trees for every piece of furniture sold. Trees for the Future focuses on creating food, animal, and land security for farmers in Cameroon, Kenya, Senegal, Uganda, Guinea, and Tanzania. The trees planted are part of a program that creates tree-fortified barriers on farmland, thereby ensuring greater security and increased viability of the land. Sofacompany’s partnership with Trees for the Future was, in part, prompted by the company’s desire to counteract any harm caused by their wood-usage. While nearly all of their wood used for sofa frames is FSC-certified, there is still some that isn’t, and that is something they are working to eradicate from their supply chain as quickly as possible.
The wide array of initiatives undertaken by Sofacompany speaks to their constant desire for improvement, and their belief that it is important to interrogate not only one’s preconceived notions (e.g. that furniture production is sustainable), but also to find your own loopholes in order to work towards closing them quickly. With Sofacompany’s direct-to-consumer model disrupting the traditional furniture market, this is another step in their journey to changing the furniture industry for the better.
Find out more about Sofacompany.