The president of FederlegnoArredo, Claudio Feltrin, who has made sustainability one of the key points of his mandate, explained the association's line during the assembly: "We first wanted to look in the mirror, with a very pragmatic approach that helps us focus on our strengths and those on which we must work more, but in the full knowledge that there is no going back".
Charting the road map towards ecological transition
The data reveal a supply chain that, from the point of view of circular economy, is already among the most advanced in Europe; however, it is necessary to map the paths taken by companies, from the supply chain to production processes, from design to the end-of-life of products, in order to draw the road map of the sector towards ecological transition, transforming environmental challenges into opportunities for growth. "If sustainability is already at the heart of a vertically integrated supply chain such as the wood-furniture industry, the ecological transition represents an epochal turning point for individual companies. Failure to seize the opportunity - Feltrin reiterated - would mean self-exclusion from the market and the trade federations have a central role in this sense, to accompany all players, especially smaller companies, towards a fully sustainable and circular model".
This model has been concretized in a Decalogue where the objectives to be pursued by the supply chain are outlined with the ambition of becoming an authoritative voice on the subject by providing guidance to operators in the sector.
"Courageously tackling the climate crisis is not only necessary," said the president of the Fondazione Symbola, Ermete Realacci, "but represents a great opportunity to make our economy and our society more people-friendly. FederlegnoArredo, with which the Fondazione Symbola has long collaborated on the themes of quality, design and circular economy, is an example of the winning mix of tradition and research, innovation and beauty that make our products unique".
Key points of the survey
The key points on which the survey "Italian wood-furniture in the ecological transition" was based are the attention to the life cycle of products with the aim of extending their duration and consequently their sustainability; the valorization of sustainable raw materials; the design approach extended to the production system and to eco-design; the recovery of materials and energy, with reference both to the actual production activity and to the products themselves and the extension of certifications intended as a push towards sustainability.
The survey was carried out on a representative sample of all components of the supply chain, from upstream to downstream, that is, from the raw material to the finished product. These are mainly SMEs with a strong export orientation and a long tradition, 60% of which use renewable energy sources, while 40% cover at least half of their needs with renewable energy. 67% of companies use materials or semi-finished products made from recycled materials, 81% use wood produced in a sustainable way, a percentage that rises to 89% if we consider wood companies. The world of wood-furniture is experimenting with new materials, collaborating more and more often with research institutes, and integrating the principles of environmental sustainability with the aesthetic-functional principles typical of design.
As far as the design phase is concerned, about 50% of companies consider the reduction of packaging, recyclability of products and energy efficiency to be fundamental, while a third considers, in the same phase, typical criteria of the circular economy such as reparability and reuse. In terms of production processes, 64% of companies have implemented actions to make them more efficient, two thirds of which have led to a reduction in production waste, and more than half of the companies surveyed say they reuse internal or external waste. 44% have activated, in the last 3 years, mechanisms to reduce water consumption, including the reuse of process water. In terms of certifications, 60% of companies have ISO9001, followed by FSC, PEFC and ISO1401. 56% of companies also say they choose their suppliers using evaluation criteria that take environmental aspects into account, and 74% of companies source, at least in part, local raw materials, with a view to a short supply chain.
One of the strategic points for the implementation of these corporate policies is the training of dedicated professionals, and in terms of human capital, one company out of three claims to have a designated environmental manager.
In the photo, a moment of the FederlegnoArredo National Assembly (credits Francesco Rucci)