American professional furniture maker Haworth published its ninth annual Sustainability Report, which outlines the company’s goal to remove 56 chemicals of concern from its products, globally, by the end of 2015.
The 56 chemicals were selected based on a review of common materials identified by customers, governments or nongovernment organizations as potentially harmful to users’ health or the environment.
“We started by reviewing more than 2,000 chemicals of concern,” said Michael Werner, senior sustainability engineer at Haworth. “From this list, we selected those that were most industry-relevant. The elimination of these 56 chemicals will provide the most significant positive, short- and long-term impact on human and environmental health.”
In order to achieve the goal, Haworth is engaging its engineer teams and supply chain. The first step of action is ensuring products are no longer designed with the chemicals of concern. Next, the company works with its supply chain to ensure their parts do not contain these chemicals. If the problem cannot be solved through re-engineering, Haworth will look for an alternative material or, as a final option, find a different supplier.
“We are eliminating these chemicals because it’s the best thing to do,” said Steve Kooy, Haworth’s global sustainability manager. “We are doing more than just analysing, investigating or debating; we are pro-actively taking action as part of our commitment to providing our customers with healthier workplace environments for the future.”
As of December 2013, Haworth has achieved eight percent of its goal. By the end of 2014, the company expects to reach 40 percent – with a target of 100 percent elimination by the end of 2015.
Haworth’s 2013 Sustainability Report also features, among other stories, the company’s Beijing Showroom, the world’s first certified LEED project under the United States Green Building Council’s new LEED version 4 beta program, and its goal to source 100 percent of the wood used in Haworth casegoods, systems, tables, and storage products from sustainably managed forests.
“Our 2013 Sustainability Report provides an update on our progress,” said Kooy. “Haworth remains committed to improving our products, material selection and client engagement to create a sustainable, holistic business model.”