Alternative FF&E with KI EuropeBy Marie Rush, Senior Project Manager FF&E
Chalk and KI Europe are helping to change the landscape with alternative FF&E
Embodied carbon in furniture refers to the amount of carbon dioxide emitted during the entire lifecycle of a piece of furniture, from the extraction and processing of raw materials to manufacturing, transportation, use, and disposal.
Furniture production is responsible for a significant portion of global carbon emissions, as it often involves energy-intensive processes like mining, milling, and chemical treatments. By reducing embodied carbon in furniture through sustainable design practices like using renewable materials, increasing recycled content, or using local suppliers we can significantly reduce our environmental footprint and contribute to a healthier planet.
It’s important that we consider embodied carbon when making choices about the furniture we purchase to ensure we are doing our part in mitigating climate change, and non-more so than for Marie Rush, Senior Project Manager FF&E at Chalk, whose department is responsible for sourcing furniture on behalf of our clients.
Our procurement process initially focuses on whole-life usability, and where possible incorporates fossil-free materials, including reduced plastic content while maintaining high-quality and functional form.
“fossil-free, reduced plastic, sustainably sourced & a high recycled content”
Furniture made from fossil-free materials such as bamboo, cork or wood harvested from sustainably managed forests helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with manufacturing and transportation. Using recycled content in furniture production also reduces pollution and conserves natural resources.
Another criteria to be considered, is reusable componentry. By sourcing furniture with interchangeable parts and components that can be easily disassembled and reused, we can significantly extend the lifespan of each piece. This not only reduces waste, but also saves money in the long run, by eliminating the need to constantly replace worn-out or outdated pieces.
Reducing plastic content in furniture production also has significant environmental benefits. Plastic is a major contributor to ocean pollution and takes hundreds of years to decompose. By reducing plastic use in favour of more sustainable materials like metal or wood, we can decrease our reliance on non-renewable resources while helping protect marine ecosystems.
Together with KI Europe, Chalk adopts the Cradle to Cradle (C2C) design philosophy that aims to design and source products that are environmentally friendly and sustainable throughout their entire lifecycle. This means designing furniture with the end in mind by using materials that can be safely reused, recycled or biodegraded at the end of their useful life. The goal is to eliminate waste and pollution while creating a closed-loop system where resources are continuously cycled back into the production process. By adopting C2C principles in furniture sourcing, we can reduce our environmental impact, conserve natural resources, and support a more circular economy.
KI have begun the transition to a circular economy. From December 2022, all one-piece chairs will contain at least 30% recycled polypropylene. Over the coming years, KI will work towards increasing this percentage to future milestones of 50, 80, and ultimately 100%. Chalk welcomes this philosophy and will support its clients, the DfE’s fossil-free initiative, and KI, by selecting these products where possible.
By embracing sustainable design principles that prioritize reusability, renewable materials, and reduced plastic content, we can create a more resilient world that supports both human well-being and ecological health. So next time you’re shopping for new furniture, consider investing in whole-life cycle pieces – in the long run, your wallet and the planet will thank you!