Love them or hate them, we undoubtedly owe a great deal to certain northern European GFFGs, that’s Global Flatpack Furniture Giants. After all, their ‘affordable’ furniture has made modern design the default position, enabling people to create, at relatively low cost, clean contemporary interiors. The GFFGs didn’t exactly appear from nowhere and single-handedly create demand of course. Progenitors like Ernest Race, Robin Day, Heals, Conran and Habitat paved the way by making modern design desirable.
However, with ambitions to become a £40 bn by 2020 IKEA, for example, have grown using a compliant supply chain to sell competitively priced furniture and as they fight to gain and sustain their pole position, quality has sometimes been the victim.
In a GFFG rush to make products cheaper, furniture items often sacrifice their robustness for the sake of competitiveness and the invisible carbon footprint of the whole production operation is never known. Most of us have probably experienced that sinking feeling when an individual furniture piece begins to wobble, and we realise the phrase ‘tipping point’ has taken on a whole new meaning and our once precious wardrobe is discarded after few of years.
If the durability and therefore longevity of the goods produced by GFFGs were matched by their easy-to-transport and easy-to-construct properties, then their products would be truly unbeatable.
Furniture giants and their domination of the marketplace cannot totally be held accountable for the abundance of furniture found in our refuse centres. A ‘throwaway culture’ has instilled itself within the consumer psyche across a range of industries. We tend to replace faulty or used items at the drop of a hat without due consideration of what is best in the long term, both to suit our own lives and for the environment. This is partly because fixing a broken piece of low-cost furniture isn’t cost effective, but also because replacements come so cheap. When it comes to purchasing new furniture, the longevity of the item is rarely considered and when it inevitably breaks, we seek a quick fix by purchasing an item of a similar quality and discarding the faulty one.
Is there a solution to this? Well, the quick answer is ‘no’. However, awareness of the effects of purchasing furniture with a short lifespan is growing and with it the demand for both more sustainably sourced and durable furniture rises.
GFFGs are aware of the need to invest in greener initiatives, with some, including IKEA, committing to being energy independent by 2020 with the help of solar panels, wind turbines and even their own forests. The very nature of flatpack furniture means items are constructed in the home which both lowers the cost, negates the need for both carbon-heavy assembly lines and the transportation of bulky furniture. But just how sustainable are the furniture pieces themselves?
For more sustainable furniture, consumers are beginning to look towards brands that have sustainability built into their business model, and this manifests itself both within the production phase and the longevity of the products themselves. For example, here at Morfus, we ensure every CNC cut is designed to minimise waste, whilst our patented assembly systems mean our products will stand the test of time. We’re not followers of throwaway culture, we build our furniture to last.
We’re committed to designing our furniture by using a balanced carbon footprint too. Our manufacturing process is carried out and monitored in the UK, so we’re keeping emissions low and work closely with our partners to adapt our process to be even more energy efficient.
Sustainability isn’t just a marketing gimmick for us, which it often can be with furniture giants. Morfus commits to a sustainable approach in every stage of our furniture design process and we think our customers deserve to buy beautifully designed furniture, ethically made with passion.
Take a look at our sustainable furniture here