Ekornes: A Truly Green Furniture Manufacturer

Ekornes ASA is the largest furniture manufacturer in Norway. The company is behind well-known brands like Ekornes®, Stressless®, and Svane®. Its furniture is respected around the world for its incredible beauty, extraordinary comfort, and exceptional quality.

However, something you may not know when looking at a gorgeous Ekornes chair, ottoman, or table is that the same amount of care that is put into the piece’s design and manufacture is directed toward protecting the environment that provides the raw materials for its construction.

A Company Committed to Ethical Business Practices

Ekornes is a participant in what is called the UN’s Global Compact initiative. It is a voluntary program whose members agree to adhere to 10 principles in the areas of Human Rights, Labour, Anti-Corruption, and the Environment. The environmental aspects are at the heart of the company’s focus on sustainability:

  • Principle 7: Businesses should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges
  • Principle 8: Businesses should undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility
  • Principle 9: Businesses should encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies

Ekornes does more than just talk a good “green game” — it fulfills its promises. This includes submitting an annual report on what the organization has done in its day-to-day operations in the prior year to improve its business in regard to the environment and the other areas of the Global Compact. In fact, the company’s commitment to green practices is written into a handbook titled “Objectives and Values for the Ekornes Group,” with verbiage that includes:

  • Ekornes shall appear as an environmentally-friendly enterprise. Our products shall cause the least possible impact on the environment.
  • Ekornes has as its objective to keep the health risk at the workplaces at a minimum.
  • Ekornes invests to avoid damage to the environment and injuries to health.
  • Environmental information shall be generally available, for example through environmental Product declarations (EPD).
  • Ekornes shall give objective and open information about how the company handles its environmental responsibility.

And, perhaps as admirable as their green initiatives is the fact that Ekornes isn’t looking to get any marketing boost from touting these activities. They just quietly do their best to be good stewards of the environment.

Ekornes Furniture: Following a Scandinavian Tradition of Protecting the Natural World

Norway and other Scandinavian countries have a long history of love and respect for the natural beauty that surrounds them — from ensuring that the crystal-clear waters they sail remain that way, to keeping the fields and forests where families have farmed and hunted for generations fertile and healthy. It is often said in that part of the world that the environment isn’t a “cause,” it is life. Ekornes is true to that heritage, with a stated goal of “creating more value with less use of resources.”

The company pursues that objective in a number of ways. For example, it works at reducing its carbon footprint by continuously investing in eco-friendly technology and fine-tuning in-house processes for greater efficiency. This includes designing products with fewer components and using production process automation, both of which minimize the use of raw materials while also contributing to a long lifespan for these items.

Ekornes also uses eco-friendly bio-energy and heat pump technology in its manufacturing facilities. The company has invested in these technologies for more than 20 years and continues to look for additional ways to leverage them in its operations. Four of its plants are heated primarily by wood chips from the company’s own waste, and most facilities view oil as an “alternative fuel” that is used only as an exception.

 

The company recycles in other ways as well, carefully sorting all of its waste to ensure every reusable resource is captured and brought back into the production process or used for energy recovery. This includes materials like leather “off cuts,” which are sold to companies that use them for other purposes. The vast majority of the waste that Ekornes generates from foam plastic production is recycled in-house, with less than 2 percent classified as toxic and properly disposed of and just over 1.5 percent sent to landfills. And, the company uses recycled packaging materials to ship its products.

In other words, in a year’s time, Ekornes discards what might amount to roughly one dumpster of material. An impressive accomplishment for a $500 million company!

Taking Time to Address Toxins

Ekornes is also very progressive when it comes to removing toxins from its products and keeping them out of the environment. 

Virtually every furniture manufacturing process results in products containing heavy metals and chemicals that are best kept to minimal levels. The company continually works to reduce the amounts of these substances, which are common in polyurethane foam, adhesives, and surface coatings.

One initiative involved Ekornes contributing to the development of a new environmentally friendly

 adhesive used in the production of laminated wood. These materials now contain no more formaldehyde than natural wood. In addition, all of the company’s surface coatings facilities use water-based products today.

The company also continues to focus resources on making significant reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants from its facilities and the transport of raw materials and finished products. Plus, it adheres to regulations and works with local authority waste treatment facilities to ensure that water discharges are properly managed.

Ekornes: Fine Furniture for Kindred Spirits in Colorado and Beyond

While Colorado and Norway are half a world apart, we share a passion for the planet and a desire to protect the environment. 

That’s why Forma Furniture is proud to offer products from a forward-thinking company like Ekornes with a long history of eco-friendly practices. That they can produce such beautiful, innovative, durable, high-quality furniture while having such a small impact on the environment is truly remarkable.

If you are looking for unique chairs, loveseats, ottomans, tables, Stressless® recliners, and other pieces from a company that cares about the earth as much as you do, we encourage you to consider Ekornes. You can check out the large selection of gorgeous pieces in our showrooms in Fort Collins and Boulder, CO, or shop Forma Furniture online.

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