The world of furniture lands on EPDItaly

The combination of technology and sustainability represents the challenge of recent decades. It is, in fact, a thread that connects these two worlds: innovation, of which EPDItaly is the bearer with the new PCR for the Furniture sector.

We announce that on the EPDItaly website it is possible to consult the Core-Product Category Rules (PCR) to be used for the development of EPDs for Indoor and Outdoor Furniture, in order to offer Organizations, who wish to implement a business strategy, a competitive advantage that can be translated into shared value for the community, the territory and the very ecosystem in which a reality operates.

The development of the document, proposed by ICMQ, saw the participation of a wide group of stakeholders including numerous universities (University of Bari Aldo Moro; Università Mediterranea Reggio Calabria, Università Politecnica delle Marche, University of Siena), LCA professionals, industry representatives such as FEDERLEGNO ARREDO, and the contribution of MASE РMinistry of Environment and Energy Security.

The multiplicity of players on the PCR panel is testimony to the ferment in the furniture world, which is oriented toward finding solutions that combine sustainability, technology and design, showing a focus on materials, production processes and product performance. In this framework, the PCR tool is inserted, which allows the environmental impacts of products to be measured according to common rules in order to enhance the Organizations that choose sustainable solutions.


MASE’s point of view

Interview with Sebastiano Serra, Ministry of Environment and Energy Security.


In recent years, we have seen a rapid push toward sustainability, across many sectors. The ministry has for years been engaged in initiatives to promote and disseminate sustainable production and consumption models. In this regard, how can we stimulate the continuous improvement of Italian industries in the concretization of sustainability principles?

The continuous improvement of domestic industry is one of the strongest elements of sustainability in its basic parameters: economic, social and environmental. The adoption of rules by industry is the main way to achieve sustainability with a sequence of parameters as recipes to be followed to achieve the goal of sustainability. Therefore, the presence of technical and behavioral rules, such as those outlined in the PCRs, provides Italian industries with the way to follow in a comprehensive manner in order to have a track to achieve sustainability.


What is your view with respect to the role of sustainability as a market driver?

Sustainability is the only comprehensive driver to favor those who apply it and achieve improvement goals that allow for the inclusion of an element of competitiveness and stability in the production of goods, strengthening companies.


How important do you think it is for organizations to be aware and ready to measure their environmental impact in the Furniture industry? And how can the market presence of the PCR in which you participated as a member of the PCR Committee contribute actively?

The furniture sector needs organizations that can provide elements of behavior and technical rules to make sure that the environmental component makes a difference within the goals that the European Union is giving us for climate protection, human welfare and health, against air, water and soil pollution, and the reduction of waste or scrap, with the principle of circular economy. The PCRs provide an outline to follow in order not to get lost in this sea of prescriptive regulations that do not help the environment; instead, they allow us to understand what are the basic and fundamental elements to achieve the goal of a clean environment, of a climate that does not deviate towards dangerous situations especially in a very fragile country like Italy.


The point of view of FEDERLEGNO ARREDO

Interview with Marco Fossi, FEDERLEGNO ARREDO – Italian Federation of Wood, Cork, Furniture and Furnishing Industries.


You participated in the PCR Committee of the Furniture PCR representing Federlegno: Why did you decide to pursue this initiative?

FederlegnoArredo tries to preside over all activities and initiatives that have an impact on member companies and their products. In this case, the definition of PCR on furniture by an Italian management body is particularly important because it offers sector companies the opportunity to address an interlocutor on the national territory, with whom dialogue is certainly easier, not only because of a matter of language. Given the relevance of sustainability to our federation’s policies in recent years, the new PCR can be seen as one more tool made available to companies to implement the goals the sector is setting for itself. For different reasons, to date, furniture products with EPDs are still an exception, a path followed by the most forward-looking companies committed to environmental sustainability, but in the future this tool may become more relevant.


Why does the wood sector consider this type of certification important?

The non-domestic (contract) or office furniture sector has realized for many years now the importance of EPDs, the possession of which is very often required or rewarded in the context of large orders, initially foreign, but now increasingly nationwide as well. The most popular building sustainability rating schemes have for years considered Environmental Product Declarations as a rewarding element, even for the furnishings that are placed in the work being evaluated. Specifications for the acquisition of furnishings now often include EPDs as an improving criterion.  The various initiatives at the European level that have arisen from the European Green Deal and the evolution of EU legislation that is taking final shape can only strengthen the role of environmental product declarations in assessing the environmental impact of products, as well as helping companies identify areas for possible improvement in their production processes. Relatively recently, even our minimum environmental criteria for public procurement of furniture have counted EPDs among the useful tools for demonstrating the compliance of products offered with some of the criteria.


In your opinion, is there more awareness today among those choosing a type of furniture about the sustainability of products?

Regulatory regulatory developments reflect the increasing awareness present in the market. Beyond legislative obligations, the degree of awareness regarding product sustainability has further increased in recent times, not only by large customers, but also by the consumer. However, the appropriate tools for communicating the environmental impact characteristics of products to the consumer can hardly be the same as those required and used in the B2B arena.