Office furniture

At first one thinks of wood when thinking about bio-based office furniture. Wood is - like other bio-based resources as well - a CO2 storage during the use phase, this is the reason why purchasing and using (preferably domestic/local) wooden furniture from sustainable forestry is in principle a climate-friendly commitment. A good indoor climate is also of importance. After all, we spend 90% of the day indoors. Pollutants can be potentially emitted from the wood-based perts or upholstery fabrics and can be contained in adhesives, glues and coatings. Unmixed quality, durability and re-processing capabilities should be further criteria for selection to keep the environmental impact to a minimum.

The office furniture market is highly competitive. This has led to a re-thinking and defintion of own sustainability standards. Even large companies in the sector have recognized that sustainability does not only affect the environment and their own corporate image, but also brings competitive advantages. Some of these companies now offer some bio-based products and have accredited certifications in place.

Small and medium carpentry enterprises are primarily the ones who have started innovative and sustainable ways of product design and manufacturing. But especially SMEs have a hard time to meet the extensive and numerous products containing comprehensive framework contracts of the public sector as well as the technical requirements of an e-procurement and the requirements of partially Europe wide tendering.

As a result, the following questions are relevant for sustainable public procurement practices:

  • What bio-based products - with which properties - are available for which application area?
  • What companies offer these products and how high could be their output?
  • What options are there to involve SMEs in doing business with the public sector?