How green is your furniture?
Sustainability is a broad concept, but in the context of furniture manufacturing it includes the ethical sourcing of raw materials, responsible use of water and energy, waste minimisation and, through better furniture design, the efficient use of raw materials – by extending a product’s working life and its recyclability.
Australian Furniture Association chief executive Patrizia Torelli says her organisation enthusiastically embraces the concept of sustainability.
“Through our support and partnership of Furntech-AFRDI’s furniture sustainability standard, and our collective implementation of in-house policies and practices that mitigate our own environmental impacts, we hope to demonstrate some leadership around this very important issue,” she says.
“Sustainable practices are fundamental to the future of our industry and to the environment, and a number of our members can demonstrate very real product stewardship and end- of-life programs, including buyback initiatives. We strongly encourage our members to adopt such programs as the AFRDI Green Tick Product Certification, a cost-effective certification that adds great value to the final product, especially in the use of commercial, educational and aged care furniture.”
WHAT DOES THE AFRDI GREEN TICK MEAN?
AFRDI chief executive Bob Panitzki says adopting sustainability as a working philosophy is practical, especially for commercial furniture manufacturers.
“More and more they must conform to ‘green’ specifications and tender requirements in both the commercial and government sectors,” he says. “Non-compliance means that, in time, they may potentially be excluded from much of the marketplace.
“As a way to address these concerns Furntech-AFRDI developed a sustainability certification program solely for the furniture industry known as AFRDI Green Tick, and therein lies special credibility. AFRDI Green Tick Certification confirms to purchasers, specifiers, architects, builders and designers that a piece of furniture meets a robust yet realistic level of sustainability requirements,” says Panitzki.
To be awarded AFRDI Green Tick Certification a product must be shown to meet the requirements of AFRDI Standard 150:2012 Sustainability Standard – Commercial Furniture at either the Silver, Gold or Platinum Level. Since AFRDI 150 incorporates the use of a points-based assessment there is some choice as to what requirements a product must be shown to meet. However, there are still base level (mandatory) requirements that all products must meet regardless of the level they wish to achieve.
AFRDI Green Tick is a Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) recognised product certification scheme. AFRDI 150’s three levels of certification are recognised by the GBCA:
■ AFRDI Green Tick Level C/Silver – GBCA Level B recognition
■ AFRDI Green Tick Level B/Gold – GBCA Level A recognition, and
■ AFRDIGreenTickLevelA/Platinum– GBCA Level A recognition.
“The AFRDI Green Tick certified product is also deemed compliant with the Volatile Organic Compounds and Formaldehyde Minimisation credits in Green Star rating tools. Furthermore, Green Star New Zealand recognises and rewards the specification and inclusion of AFRDI Green Tick certified products through specific Materials Credits,” says Panitzki.
“Furniture manufacturers can assess whether their products meet the requirements of AFRDI 150 in a free assessment questionnaire, available on request from AFRDI.”