Are Carl Hansen Products Made Sustainably?
The business always works with the very best designers and the finest materials. The aim is to create big picture strategies with simple, everyday solutions.
- Honest and Sustainable Design
- Sustainable Materials
- Responsible Production
- Harnessing Expertise
- Business Established on Sustainability
Carl Hansen & Søn wants to care for people while also protecting the planet. The business invests in state-of-the-art and energy-efficient equipment. This helps it achieve the goals it sets for production practices.
Honest and Sustainable Design
Today, Carl Hansen & Søn has more than 75 design icons available in FSC™-certified wood. That accounts for 90% of the firm’s products. The Forest Stewardship Council promotes responsible management of the world’s forests. The remaining 10% use non-certified sustainable wood. But all new Carl Hansen & Søn designs use FSC™-certified wood.
CH24 Wishbone Chairs produced in FSC™-certified wood. This variant uses FSC™-certified beech, soap and paper cord.
Carl Hansen & Søn see wood as a precious natural resource. The company commits to using every piece and little scrap to its fullest. Offcuts of wood are inevitable, but Carl Hansen & Søn uses everything leftover to its fullest. Most home accessories, like cutting boards, use offcuts to minimise waste.
When it comes to the furniture produced by Carl Hansen & Søn, a typical product is the Carl Hansen CH327 248-368cm Rectangular Extendable Dining Table. This is iconic designer Hans J. Wegner’s take on the traditional dining table. The simplicity of this piece lends itself to its designer’s Scandinavian heritage.
It has simple lines forming a gracious silhouette. And the CH327 comprises interlocking wooden beams to create a robust structure. The legs taper towards the bottom, with the table surface resting on the frame. The subtle design features of the CH327 make it both elegant and practical. But the focus is always on sustainability.
There is nothing “throw-away” about Carl Hansen & Søn furniture. The beauty of the designs dates back several generations. The workmanship has stood the trials of everyday use since 1950. And they are still going strong.
All the wood is hardwood. The company purchases it from responsible sawmills. These have long, established relationships with the company. Due to the design and quality of the products, the choice is to use new wood – never recycled wood.
The oak, beech and ash come in the main from Danish forests. These operate according to the Danish Forest Act. This law promotes sustainable forestry incorporating ecological, social and economic considerations. The law stipulates that indigenous wood supplies must be sustainable. But, it also insists these supplies must increase in a managed way.
Carl Hansen & Søn also use walnut and American Cherry for selected models. These wood types come from American forests.
Many of the chairs designed by Hans J. Wegner incorporate paper cords. Paper cord comes from a paper that emanates from sustainable Swedish forests. All paper cord is biodegradable.
For soap treated wooden furniture Carl Hansen & Søn uses 100% natural soap based on pure vegetable oils. The oil-treated wooden furniture uses oils based on plant oil. These materials do not emit gases of any kind after application.
Production facilities and processes meet European and Danish health and safety requirements. These are among the most stringent in the world.
The physical working environment is modern. There is natural lighting and ergonomic workstations for all. Production and administrative employees in Denmark are eligible to receive free, regular massage. This helps prevent long-term injury that their work could cause.
Danish energy consumption per capita and as compared to GNP is among the lowest in the world. This is due to strict conservation practices. The law (such as standards for insulating buildings) governs these. Also, high energy prices and efforts to cut energy costs and environmental impact play a part.
But Carl Hansen & Søn continues to work to reduce the amount of energy used in production in many ways, for example:
- Investing in the most modern and energy-efficient equipment.
- Setting annual targets for reducing the amount of energy used.
- Reducing energy waste wherever possible. This includes initiatives such as cutting temperatFure levels. This applies to both production and administrative areas when not in use.
- Burning scrap wood from production in approved incinerators. This generates district heating for homes.
- Using as few materials as possible to make shipping cartons that protect the furniture.
- Keeping airfreight to the minimum.
Carl Hansen & Søn discusses with sustainability pioneers how to build a greener future. The business and Dezeen magazine focused on sustainability in the design, architecture and food industry.
The session brought together Dezeen deputy editor Casja Carlson with many industry leaders. These included Jakob Jønck, founder and CEO of local food delivery service Simple Feast. Others were Dan Stubbergaard, architect and founder of Copenhagen firm Cobe Architects. As well as Carl Hansen & Søn CEO and third-generation owner Knud Erik Hansen.
The panellists discussed the steps taken towards making their industry more sustainable. They also before shared views on the challenges of running a sustainable business. Finally, they outlined their hopes for the future.
Business Established on Sustainability
Carl Hansen & Søn is a 113-year-old family business. It produces classical Danish furniture created by mid-century designers. It also produces new contemporary pieces. Hansen is adamant sustainability is “inherent” in its design philosophy.
The furniture comes out of a factory in Denmark. Very skilled craftspeople build each piece to “last for generations”. The majority of the pieces that the factory produces are between 70 and 80 years old. But according to Hansen, they have never been so popular as they are today. Hansen credits this to the furniture’s sustainability credentials.
Carl Hansen & Søn underpins its commitment to sustainable development. It has drawn up a set of ambitious targets for 2025. These support the UN’s sustainable development goals.
By 2025, the company has pledged to use 100% certified wood. It will also manufacture 350 FSC-certified products. And it will reduce its CO2 emissions by 25% on its 2015 output.
Also, 100% of its furniture textiles will carry certification. And 100% of its leather will be traceable and sustainable. The firm’s products will come in 100% sustainable packaging.