Sustainability: Can Home Decor Brands Help Save the Planet?
Modern-day consumers currently have a love affair with anything organic. Tomorrow, before pulling up a chair at the table, they’ll want to know which certified wood was used for its production. So, what can brands do to deliver?
Ecological, ethical, responsible. The modern-day customer wants to be able to make environmentally sound choices. And there’s no need for marketing studies or sociological surveys to establish whether this is a short- or long-term trend. Seeing the younger generation take to the streets to demonstrate about climate change tells us all we need to know. The only choice home decor brands now have is how to go about addressing these demands.
The preferred materiel for Oli & Carol is natural rubber. All the children’s toys created by Olimpia and Carol, two young Spanish sisters aged just 20 and 25, are manufactured using natural sap harvested from the Hevea tree and then hand-painted using natural, non-toxic dyes. Parents can let their little ones happily chew away on a fun-filled selection of animal shapes or some colourful fruit or veg safe in the knowledge that nature is also being protected. The up-and-coming firm, based in Barcelona, is just one of so many new brands that are now placing sustainable development at the very heart of their business model. Take Bandit Manchot, for example. Having all previously worked in the world of fashion, the firm’s three founders came up with the idea of creating pieces from so-called “post-collection” leathers – leather samples that ended up never being used by the big fashion houses’ design studios. This luxury “waste”, which is of truly exquisite quality and comes in a whole host of varieties and hues, is what they now use to produce their collection of leather clutch bags emblazoned with tattoo-style designs. The world revolves around wood, meanwhile, for English wood flooring firm Benott. The brand is committed to working with nothing but FSC-certified wood and is an ardent supporter of the Woodland Trust Mission, which has been working to protect the UK’s forests since back in 1972.
Environmental production using natural, recycled materials from sustainable sources is increasingly associated with ethical manufacturing. Honesty and transparency are just two of the fundamental values that underpin The Organic Company, set up in 2007 by Joy Vasiljev. Textiles for the bathroom and kitchen and a variety of bags and covers are all dreamed up by Danish textile designers and then manufactured from 100% GOTS-certified cotton. The Global Organic Textile Standard ensures that firms are not just environmentally responsible but socially responsible, too, meaning workers’ rights are protected irrespective of the country in which they are based.
Using locally-sourced materials and opting for a short supply chain is something design house Reine Mère and its founder, Stéphane Clivier have been doing since 2006. All the firm’s designs are crafted from French materials: the wood comes from forests in the Jura, the porcelain from Limoges, and the packaging is 100% recycled. In northern France, meanwhile, Mousse du Nord seeks to source complementary expertise and suppliers within a radius of no more than 60 miles. Keeping its production local helps the sofa and armchair manufacturer, based near Lille, reduce its carbon footprint whilst simultaneously bolstering activity within the local region.
Improving production, drawing on expertise, striving to make a positive environmental impact… There’s certainly more than one way of being eco-responsible. Each brand has its own needs, its own DNA, its own philosophy upon which it must build the most effective solutions. But at the end of the day, two key criteria will determine a project’s success: sustainable design and lasting quality.