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Being responsible while taking responsibility

  • Circular Facility Management

More and more often, organisations must account for their actions and progress on their sustainability and circularity. Why? Because of several reasons. First, from a legal perspective, companies should meet the already set climate goals. Public opinion demands companies to act responsibly with regard to sustainability and the circularity of their company. Because, in these times of scarcity of good personnel, transparency and accountability for sustainability have become important choice criteria. For the current generation, it is a matter of whether to choose an employer. So how does your office relate to responsibility towards a more sustainable and circular future?

Sustainability and circularity in the office

For all the above-mentioned reasons, an organisation has every interest in being accountable for sustainability and circularity. How much CO₂ does the organisation save per year by switching to electric driving, by saving energy and by reusing its furniture?

Where the first two questions have an easy and straightforward answer, the third question involves a few more snags. Before your organisation can make a decision about the possibility to reuse furniture, you first need to know how much of everything is present in your office. You should know the purchase date of such furniture. And even after that, you are not done yet. You need to have the maintenance information in order as well. What furniture is still useable and what needs replacement. How much of the furniture can be reused or renovated? Or how much has reached the end of its use?

The office inventory has great value

To make such an inventory is quite the operation, but once the inventory is up-to-date, it will bring a lot of value. Not only will it bring a basis for a multi-year maintenance plan, including possible savings on purchases, but it will also give insights into the reduction levels of Co2, which immediately shows the contribution of your company to the legal climate goals.

According to the public publication by CE Delft named “Footprint sustainable business management, Central Government” from 2017, it appears that 95% of the climate impact of the office category is determined by furniture. The remaining 5% is largely attributable to the floor covering and a small part to the paint.

Climate impact office furnishing
Image 1: the climate impact office furnishing


The office chairs, in particular, are responsible for the greatest impact. This example of the central government is illustrative of office-based organisations in general.

Climate impact per office furniture type
Image 2: the climate impact per office furniture type

And if we dive even further into this publication, we can clearly see the differences in climate impact between purchasing new furniture and refurbished. Amazing differences that still lead to “no brainer” decision makings.

Table 1. Climate impact for new and refurbished furniture, kg CO2-eg per piece
Table 1. Climate impact for new and refurbished furniture, kg CO2-eg per piece


Table 2. Purchasing per furniture category
Table 2. Purchasing per furniture category

The figures in the above table look like dry figures at first glance, but they are actually quickly convertible to more appealing images such as kilometres of train or air travel, or growth years of trees. Data that is actually quite useable and does well for public opinion and towards new employees.

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