"With the new label, consumers can be sure that they are buying furniture made in Germany," says VDM Managing Director Jan Kurth. The strict requirements were laid down by the German Institute for Quality Assurance and Labelling (RAL). Furniture Made in Germany" is the first guarantee of origin label for furniture recognized by RAL - and the first ever for consumer goods.
"For consumers, we have created a neutrally tested proof of quality furniture made in Germany," says Kurth. The origin of the products is playing an increasingly important role in the purchasing decision. Kurth is convinced that the new label offers the domestic furniture industry the chance to increase the sales share on the domestic market.
Currently, two thirds of all furniture sold in Germany comes from abroad. "But we also expect improved sales opportunities in exports," says the VDM Managing Director. To start with, 45 companies have already registered their products for labelling. The target was 50 participating manufacturers; this mark is likely to be exceeded.
"Made in Germany' is very important for many consumers," says Hans Strothoff, President of the Furniture and Kitchens Trade Association (BVDM). "The designation gives our industry a lot of tailwind, because it underlines the excellent quality of our domestic manufacturers, the regionality and thus the idea of sustainability."
The requirements of the new label are demanding and stand for a high quality standard: design, assembly and quality testing take place in Germany.
Compliance with the criteria is monitored by the German Furniture Quality Association (DGM) on behalf of the VDM. VDM developed and introduced the label together with RAL.
Mr Kurth, you are starting out with the new label "Furniture Made in Germany" at a time when the industry is in a difficult situation. Is that coincidence or do you also want to strengthen the market after Corona with the label?
Kurth: We started preparations for the label several months ago, well before the outbreak of the pandemic. Nevertheless, we see the fact that the start is now in the middle of the Corona crisis as a great opportunity. People have spent a lot of time at home over the past few weeks and have also been busy with your facility. The focus on their own homes has increased noticeably, while the topic of travel has lost some of its importance. Many consumers have certainly expressed specific wishes for new furniture, the implementation of which will of course also depend on the further economic development of this crisis.
In your opinion, what do consumers associate with the label "furniture made in Germany"?
Kurth: Consumers expect sustainable quality from German production - and that is exactly what they get. The label also stands for innovation, durability, reliability and healthy living. It succinctly highlights the strengths of the German furniture industry.
What does a company have to do to get certified?
Kurth: Furniture manufacturers can apply to the VDM (email@example.com) for the Geographical Guarantee of Origin - the official name of the label - for individual furniture models. This is followed by an inspection under the supervision of the German Furniture Quality Association. Strict requirements are checked during this process, which have been established by the renowned German Institute for Quality Assurance and Labelling (RAL). Products can only be certified if the manufacturing process relevant to quality is predominantly carried out in Germany.