Sustainable management and closed circular chains are the goals of many industries. Especially in the furniture sector, many companies are trying to become greener. How did you manage to do this with Nature`s Legacy? How long did it take to develop a 100% green brand?
First of all, the company has already been practicing sustainability principles since its inception in the 1980s. It was believing that we can contribute something for mother earth and understanding what it takes to do crucial steps to help. At that time, most of the work that we do is undocumented, and we also did not feel the need to promote ourselves. We just did it because it is the right thing to do for the planet and the community.
It was not an easy ride for we were always misunderstood, challenged, and sometimes ridiculed. We officially defined and clearly measured our sustainability targets in 2019, following our B Corp and Cradle to Cradle applications. That was when we did an extensive review of our processes and worked towards ensuring that they meet the highest standards of sustainability, circularity, and inclusiveness.
With Nature's Legacy you pursue a 360-degree sustainability approach. What does this approach include along the value chain? What does it mean for consumers?
360-degree sustainability primarily means adopting the principle of the triple bottom-line: environmental conservation, social equity, and financial sustainability. This means that our products are made from natural and/or industrially safe raw materials. Hence, our products are biodegradable and/or recyclable (made for the circular economy).
Our manufacturing processes are designed to ensure less and renewable resource extraction, with minimal carbon footprint. We do this by sourcing raw materials from within a 50 km radius; adopting low-technology techniques and even installing a solar panel to minimize and further offset carbon emissions; and, completely using rainwater in production through our in-house catchment facility.
We have to include the value chain but uphill since we are not on the same footing with others, so we decided to be on top of our material source. We make a conscious effort to find solutions on the misuse of natural resources. Many consumers, though at this time, are still not willing to pay the price for sustainability value.
Though we cannot force people to change their ways for a sustainable approach, at least we lead to inspire them of the simple things we can do to help if we really put our heart and mind into it. Lastly, our employees are given not just fair wages, but are provided with the needed support to achieve total well-being. All of these imply that our consumers can be assured that Nature's Legacy products are eco-friendly, sustainably produced, and ethically made.
You have developed four material innovations that are 100 percent sustainable. What does that mean and how long did it take to develop these certified materials?
We call them material "innovations" because we invented them. The sustainability of these materials are seen: (1) in what they are made of and (2) in how they are made. As mentioned in no. 2 above, we have been using raw materials that are natural and/or industrially safe, making our products biodegradable and/or recyclable (made for the circular economy).
All our products are produced using low-technology manufacturing processes to ensure less and renewable resource extraction with minimal carbon footprint, and we adopt ethical and fair-trade practices to promote total well-being of our human capital. We have invented these material innovations since our company inception in the 1980s, although we can say that the development is ongoing up until today as we seek to improve our work vis-a-vis international sustainability standards such as B Corp and Cradle-to-Cradle.
In contrast to fashion, furniture has always had a very long-life span. However, we are currently seeing a shift towards "Fast Furniture". People are changing their taste more and more quickly and furniture is becoming a kind of "disposable product". Does this development concern you?
It does concern us, not because we are afraid of competition but because of the harm that these "fast furnitures" are doing to the planet. We have already established our market and have also observed that more and more individual and corporate clients are becoming conscious of their environmental and social impact. But with the onslaught of climate change and the speed of degradation that our planet is experiencing now, we would need the entire furniture industry to adopt sustainability and circularity.
This would ensure not just the survival of the sector but of everyone. We should, however, start to rethink how and what products we should love to buy that have meaning, a story, and a purpose so it will be created to last and linger in your memory to treasure its life cycle.
Pedro Delantar Jr. is an Industrial Engineer, Innovator and an expert in methods and procedures. He had postgraduate studies in the USA and AIM. Cathy Delantar is a psychologist by profession, and student scholar in high school with high proficiency in the fields of sciences. She has an intensive research background in material process and applications.
Author: Bernadette Trepte