When it comes to sustainable consumption, what do you think are the modern consumers’ views and expectations?
- This topic has seen a major rise in both awareness and expertise in recent years. There’s been a marked shift from recognizing its importance to focusing on how we can actually make demands that drive progress in the right direction. The pandemic has certainly accelerated the trend. The psychology is only natural – the pandemic illustrates how “small and vulnerable” we all are, dependent entirely on the world around us being able to “heal”. And so we’re more focused on how we can live our lives and do our jobs in a way that helps society as a whole to move forward. In this climate, the winning brands are those with a good reputation for sustainability and quality.
What are Flokk doing to bring about a circular transition and sustainable production? Please give us your best example!
- We employed our first environmental manager in 1990, drew up environmental criteria for product development in 1993 and introduced post-consumer recycled plastic into our products in 1995, plus we were the first in the world to publish EPDs. For a manufacturing company like ours, the biggest battles are still fought in the design phase. Of course it’s important to make good quality products that perform well, really last and can be repaired when the time comes, so they always look too good to throw away. But there’s more to it than that. We also need to design the products so they have the lowest possible environmental footprint per unit produced. With furniture, the key factor by far is material use, and the most effective way of dealing with this is to make use of waste and recycled materials that have already been part of a product at least once. By taking this approach, we can create furniture and clean up the planet, all at the same time. It was true back in 1995 and it remains so to this day.
- We’re still gathering the data, but we believe that in 2020 we used 800 tonnes of recycled plastic in our production. That’s waste that was transformed into new, top-quality products. The target for 2021 has been upped to 1,000 tonnes. The RH New Logic chair is over 60% old scrap, there’s a new version of the HÅG Capisco Puls made from old snow poles and we have a new product in the pipeline that has one third the carbon footprint of its predecessor, which was already low.
Where do you think we/the industry will be in 10 years’ time?
- We’re going to see major changes. Emitting carbon dioxide has to be made prohibitively expensive, more companies need to switch to 100% renewable energy and the use of material resources needs to become expensive. The keywords here are renewable and circular.
- Circular or recycled materials have to become the norm and that’s going to affect the aesthetic in design and architecture, as it produces greater variation. Colors and surfaces can’t be exactly the same every time, so we need to develop an aesthetic that celebrates this variation. It may be that some materials will only be available seasonally: for example, snow poles in spring, ocean plastic in the summer and bio-based materials in fall and winter.
- We have to become better at reusing and repairing where necessary, and the industry has a huge role to play in enabling and encouraging this. Circular business models are being developed, but offers such as exchanging your old phone for a new one every other year have no place in a sustainable society. Circular models have to be based around ensuring that products are used for longer.
Will Flokk be holding any activities during Stockholm Design Week?
- Yes, we’ve got our own talk on Friday, February 12.