Whether you realise it or not, some choices are “greener” than others when it comes to furniture. Yes, even the chairs you sit on have a carbon “footprint.” From the materials and finishes used in manufacturing, to the construction and transportation energy required to get it to market, to that loyal coffee table’s ultimate destination, furniture has a life cycle that impacts the environment and your health.
“LivingOn is a key pillar of our business that guides everything from brand selection through to logistics planning and capital investments."
– James Morton, CFO/COO of Living Edge
At Living Edge, sustainability informs everything we do. For us, this means sharing products that will last a lifetime, that are manufactured using sustainable materials, and designed to be recycled and upcycled. We’ve taken steps to reduce waste and energy use, offset our carbon footprint, and incorporate key environmental, social, and economic considerations throughout the entire product lifecycle.
In 2008, we created Living On. While our passion for sustainable design had started long before, it was then that we realised that our commitment to sustainability could achieve much more. We realised we had a responsibility to the planet and its people to be an environmentally sustainable company in our own right, and that doing so could give our business an edge and even transform our industry.
We set about reducing carbon emissions wherever we could, from how we ran our showrooms to how we marketed our products. To this day, we still voluntarily measure and report our carbon footprint.
In 2009, we became the first Herman Miller dealer in the world to offset all emissions caused by transporting products from their overseas port to our warehouses. We’ve done so ever since, and in 2017 we were able to extend this to all our freight – from every supplier to every customer.
In 2017, we’d reduced our carbon footprint by 51%. At this point, we purchased enough carbon credits to offset our remaining carbon emissions.
At Living Edge, we endeavour to share the best international designs with Australia. This means a large portion of our emissions come from freight – to get the brands we supply from overseas to our customers. We can’t cut these emissions, but we can help mitigate their environmental cost by purchasing carbon credits. We do this by investing in two organisations:
The Beijing Guanting Wind Power Project; This project generates wind power to feed into the North China Power Grid, reducing fossil fuel energy generation and greenhouse gas emissions.
The Cikel Brazilian Amazon REDD APD Project; This project conserves over 27,000 hectares of native rainforest in Brazil, supporting biodiversity and protecting endangered flora and fauna.
Since 2017, Pangolin Associates have been independently verifying Living Edge’s annual carbon emissions inventory. “The verification process includes the undertaking of a number of procedures in order to ensure that inventory complies with industry best practice and that the data and methodologies supporting it are robust;“ explains Iain Smale, Managing Director of Pangolin Associates.
Pangolin Associates is the leading provider in Australia of government carbon neutral certifications. The consultancy’s core services include greenhouse gas (GHG) assessments and verifications, the Australian Government’s Climate Active program, carbon offsetting services and the supply of carbon credits.
“By undertaking this level of regular review for Living Edge, it should provide stakeholders with a level of comfort over the results of the analysis and ensure that Living Edge is providing a true and accurate representation of its carbon impacts,” said Smale.
Because of these combined efforts, in 2017 Living Edge achieved carbon neutrality. A position maintained year on year since. On next steps and looking forward James Morton, Living Edge CFO/COO said, “While we are proud to have been recognised as environmental leaders through sustainability awards such as the Banksia Awards in 2019, it is our goal to have a positive impact on our planet and the wellbeing of our community that continues to drive us toward further improvements in our environmental performance beyond just being Carbon Neutral.”