• 4 min read

A Second Chance

Circular solutions that make the most of what we have

by Haworth, Inc.

We all want the newest, latest, and greatest products – a desire probably linked to something deep within our human DNA. But this has created a planet polluted with waste and a linear, throw-away economy that the world simply can’t sustain. At Haworth, we’ve been dedicated to changing that for many years.

The following article, originally published in our Corporate Social Responsibility Report, describes how and why all of us at Haworth are committed to a circular economy and making the most of what we already have – instead of making more.

Haworth products are designed for long lifespans. In addition to their high-quality materials – most of which are renewable or recyclable – we’re also committed to healthy materials that exclude harmful substances to keep people safe.

Circular services are part of our global 2025 Commitments. We are dedicated to finding ways to maintain product value by keeping resources in high-quality use cycles and gradually designing waste and pollution out of the system.

Circular Solutions for Our Customers

Some examples of how we have shifted from a traditional, linear economy (cradle to grave) to a more circular economy (cradle to cradle) include our pilot projects and partnerships for our product End-of-Life Program. Together with our partners and clients, we use these pilots to explore sustainable solutions for customers’ used furniture, including options to repair, refurbish, reuse, recycle, and/or remanufacture products. In Europe and Asia-Pacific we have created opportunities for the Product as a Service Program, which includes leasing.

These programs provide tremendous benefits to customers. Depending on the project, marketability of the furnishings, infrastructure in the region, and market demand, Haworth develops solutions with clients to fulfil circular economy principles: We support ways to relocate used furniture; through established partnerships we clean, repair, refurbish, remanufacture, and recycle it; we also resell and donate it; and we lease or rent furniture.

Our Corporate Social Responsibility

Find out how our corporate social responsibility efforts support a circular economy, making the world better for people, our communities, and the planet.

Walking the Walk in Our Own Spaces Too

We know what our products are capable of and are proud of their durability and performance. When our Pudong plant in Shanghai needed an office renovation in 2021, rather than replace old furniture with new, we decided to refurbish our existing 10-year-old desks and chairs to support our sustainability strategy.

The office seating, our Zody task chair, looked brand new after the bases got fresh coats of paint and seats were reupholstered. Other components, like seating mechanisms, cylinders, and casters, were still functioning well – a testament to Haworth quality – so they were reused.

For the workstations, our Customer Solutions team helped upgrade existing AllWays fixed-height benches to height-adjustable models. We leveraged our manufacturing plant to repaint the metal components, creating like-new products. Now our members can adjust their desks to suit their changing positions, which is good for their well-being. Overall, the used products look great and were upgraded with minimal impact on the environment.

 

“We are passionate about designing robust programs and products that support a cradle-to-cradle philosophy.”

Michael Warsaw

Haworth VP of Global Design, Innovation, & Sustainability

Global Partnerships

Around the world, we have cultivated partnerships with like-minded organizations to promote a circular economy. As far back as 2011, Haworth France participated in the creation of Valdelia, which accepts office furniture at nationwide pick-up centres to recycle/reuse the primary materials utilized by our industry: wood, steel, aluminium, and plastics.

In 2021, Haworth France joined forces with Label Emmaüs to give a second life to office furniture – and a second chance for people – by supporting the most vulnerable with jobs and job training. Our Zody chair is Haworth’s first demonstration of this joint initiative, offering B2B customers the promise of a new sustainable purchasing model through distribution of Zody chairs that have been reconditioned in the Label Emmaüs warehouse. Over time, this partnership will expand to a wider range of furniture solutions for office spaces – further extending the life of our products and keeping waste out of landfills and resources within material cycles.

Finding new ways to support a more circular business model is an essential part of our strategy and commitment. We continue to explore environmentally preferred solutions that drive environmental stewardship, economic growth, and community prosperity.

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