Office supplies and ecology

That’s it, the (electric) train is moving. The signing of the Paris climate agreements in 2015 forced all participants to put in place ambitious environmental policies. Like the one aimed at halving fossil fuel consumption and carbon footprint. In the European Union, this objective is set for 2030. If the European Parliament and the Commission are still discussing quotas, we are probably heading for a figure above 50%.

This means in practice a doubled share of renewable energies. As well as a minimal carbon footprint for companies. The world of office supplies is not immune. So the manufacturers react, like the 2 industry giants Humanscale and SteelCase. While the two companies recall all the work done in favor of the climate, they also unveil their action plans to meet the new regulations. So how are office equipment manufacturers going green?

Humanscale recalls what it did and calls for more

The first company to have obtained the Living Product Challenge certification, meeting the sustainability standards set by the International Living Future Institute, Humanscale recalls the environmental rationalization process to which its production line has been subjected. The factories are equipped with rainwater collectors and solar panels. Finally, the American brand has developed a system that prevents 90% of the facility’s waste from ending up in landfills. It underlines that after passing the audit to obtain the Living Product Challenge certification, it finally decided to apply these standards to the entire production chain.

Humanscale’s future efforts will be in product quality. Specifically in the banning of substances suspected of being harmful to consumers. Like Chromium 6 (which can be both carcinogenic and reproductive toxin) and formaldehyde (a known carcinogen). The company is also working to eliminate polyvinyl chloride or PVC, which is increasingly suspected of being harmful.

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Steelcase, carbon footprint neutrality before negativity in 2030

The other US industry giant is also showing that it hasn’t thought about the problem since yesterday. It has just completed a 6-year plan to achieve carbon neutrality after reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30% over this period. Which ended in 2020. And wants to go further and become negative. How is it possible ? By continuing reductions (50% are planned until 2030, with a focus on non-production ones – such as business travel) and investing in projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It intends to apply emission reductions throughout the production chain, including suppliers. The second effort will be on energy efficiency. It recognizes that, in this sector, it is less advanced than others. But announced that it had planned numerous audits to rectify the situation.

The company plans to publish its progress in future impact reports. The declared emissions will be validated by a third party which remains to be defined. Let it be said, Steelcase will arrive in 2030 with the draconian new standards already respected.

The targets set by the Paris Agreements do not seem set to shake up the world of office supplies. Because companies have prepared for it by following their own reasoning. Often because they know their demanding customers on the subject. Of course, the sector is a large consumer of raw materials (production processes are also audited as a priority). But it could eventually happen for the fossil fuels production. Which is not the case for everyone.