Today’s growing trend on sustainability is becoming more and more common in fields beyond automotive and architectural. Subsidiaries of these industries are also striving to achieve green attributes. For example, numerous advances are being made in the furniture industry.
Nationwide furniture companies have developed environmental initiatives. These initiatives give those companies an edge over others, and thus highly advertise the green advantages of their product. One such company, Knoll, Inc, has developed something referred to as “the Knoll 8”. Within the program, 8 different sustainable goals are explained. The 8  goals include “Protection of the Biosphere,” “Conservation,” and “Informing the Public.”

The goals that Knoll, Inc. has established are making it a leading competitor in the furniture industry’s green design. Knoll was awarded the 2009 “Environmental Awareness” award from the Greater New Yok Chapter of the International Facility Management Association (GNY IFMA) as well as the Best of NeoCon Gold Award for Seating: Desk/Workstation Task Chair in 2002. Knoll proudly displays 12 sustainability awards since 1994 on the corporate website (http://www.knoll.com/environment/env_awards.jsp).

Sustainable attributes are important in the furniture industry for many reasons. On one level, furniture manufacturing impacts the environment through manufacturing processes and emissions, raw material consumption, and industry worker health. On another level, the furniture included in a building can directly affect LEED credits, indoor air quality, and ultimately, employee productivity. The NeoCon awarded chair, the Life Chair, “measures…environmental, economical, and social benefits over its life and throughout its global supply chain, from raw materials through reclamation of re-use.” Additionally, the chair is ergonomically considerate and “is designed to adapt to the individual and its surroundings..(where) it enhances or compliments any workplace” (Life Brochure). Consideration of the impact of all sustainable attributes account for a company’s success in today’s corporate world.

The endless advantages of green furniture design stem beyond the basic benefits of environmental sustainability and into the success of a business. Worker productivity is vital to a company’s success. With the growing interest in sustainable design, advertising green initiatives attracts the attention of clients. To rise above competitors in the current sustainable business fad, every step needs to be taken to achieve an environmentally friendly business. Therefore, every green initiative taken by a company is important. The furniture industry is using this fact to create outstanding products. Businesses that include environmentally friendly furniture are considering environmental impacts beyond the basics.
Samantha Smigelski

Samantha Smigelski
Contributing Author

Samantha Smigelski is a writing and architectural contributor, and also an Intermediate Technical Designer.