Are Fredericia Products Made Sustainably?
The last few years have seen environmental issues explode. You may see this in the way people talk about green topics. They may take a genuine interest, just preen themselves on their green credentials, or moan about the latest recycling restrictions. However people express it, public focus on the topic is growing. That makes it important to show if Fredericia products are made sustainably.
The answer echoes a joke that has been doing the rounds for the last couple of years. It involves a child nagging a pensioner grandparent about their environmental credentials.
“When I was young, I used to walk to the corner shop, where I would buy food grown on neighbouring farms. They handed it to me in a biodegradable paper bag. I put that in a basket the family had been using for the last 20 years. If it was too heavy, a lad on a bike would deliver it,” the OAP replies.
“For a drink of pop, I paid a deposit on a glass bottle which I took back to be reused. If I wanted milk, they delivered it to my doorstep in recycled bottles from a local dairy in the early hours of the morning. By someone driving an electric vehicle.
“So, how have things got better?”
- Fredericia to the rescue
- A century of sustainability
- Modern sustainability
- Sustainability and the United Nations
- Old-style sustainability
- Responsibly sourced leather
- Man-made components
- Making every scrap count
Fredericia To The Rescue
You could add a line to that story of traditional virtues. Before the throwaway culture of the last 40 years, you expected things to last a lifetime. If the pensioner had bought Fredericia furniture, they were getting it from a manufacturer that has never wavered from that principle. The Fredericia table and the Fredericia chair, for example, go on so long they can be handed down through the generations. If you never need to throw things out, there is no waste.
Sustainability has been consistently at the core of the company’s ethics since its foundation in 1911. The company proves this in both the materials it uses and in its craftsmanship and design. With such attention to detail, Fredericia’s products will last for generations and never go out of style. These values are hard-wired into the company and visible in everything it makes.
A Century Of Sustainability
The company, named after the town in Denmark where it all began, started as Fredericia Stolefabrik (Fredericia Chair Company). It specialised in making upholstery and quickly established a reputation for the quality of its craftsmanship.
The next important moment came in 1955. Andreas Graversen bought the company and brought in Børge Mogensen to inspire the design department. That set the tone for the future. He established the principles of combining stunning appearance with true craftsmanship and top-class materials in products such as his Spanish Collection or the J39 chair.
The company says these are still its core principles. We see this in its use of natural materials, ethical methods of production and its respect for the people using its furniture every day.
“At Fredericia, we take our legacy and responsibility seriously when developing and producing furniture, utilising a modern chain of production geared towards today’s global market,” is how the company itself puts it.
In an interview on Metcha.com, Rasmus Graversen, the current design and product manager, described how Mogensen championed the idea that looking good was not enough. For him, Fredericia furniture had to be crafted to last and mature with age.
“We don’t believe we can foresee what will be an everlasting design. Only time can prove that,” he explained. “When a design is made with character and clarity, our experience is that it has the personality to stand in the same room as our classics. This is where the magic happens.
“We are very pleased with the increasing appreciation of a more conscious way of consumption. This is at the core of our original values, and it is what we have been championing for decades.
“We continue to focus largely on not only making strong products but also products that are made well for the human body and products that age with beauty and grace. These values, which were seen as old-fashioned for years, are now being celebrated as the most sustainable approach to furniture design.”
Sustainability And The United Nations
As you’d expect from a company at the forefront of sustainability efforts, Fredericia has signed up to the United Nations global goals for sustainable development.
These commit the company to use sustainable materials while encouraging responsible consumption and production. Other clauses commit signatories to helping mitigate climate change, prevent deforestation and preserve biodiversity.
That’s not all. As you can see above, there are a plenty of other certificates that prove just how sustainable Fredericia products are.
One key to sustainability depends on the raw materials used. This is where Fredericia has always scored well. It creates most of its traditional ranges out of wood and leather. Both materials come from renewable supplies. The company goes to great lengths to make sure they come from responsibly managed forests and farms.
As Thomas Graversen, the current owner, points out, it can take 150 years to produce a full-size oak. That means his company needs to make the possible best use of it.
The wood Fredericia uses comes from managed woodlands with a Forest Management Certificate (FSC). This shows it comes from an area with an environmentally responsible management scheme. It protects biodiversity while benefiting both workers and local people.
Fredericia also supports the European Union Timber Regulation mechanism. This cuts down on illegal logging by making sure there is no way for banned timber to be sold in the EU. The idea is that the timber used in manufacturing all comes from managed, sustainable forests.
Responsibly Sourced Leather
Fredericia leather uses comes from carefully chosen premium hides. A certification scheme assures the welfare of the animals. All these hides come from European sources, mainly in Germany, Sweden and Denmark, three countries where animal welfare is a priority. The company is expanding its traceability mechanism to make sure it can trace hides right back to the animal it came from. The farms must sign up for welfare guarantees. To add to that the designers have come up with ingenious ways to give Fredericia furniture extra life. One example is the saddle-inspired buckle which lets owners adjust the tension as the leather ages and expands.
The benchmark for leather products is the SPOOR collection from Scan-Hide, the last tannery in Denmark. It processes and tags the leather before it goes to specialist units in Italy for the finishing process. The hides are a by-product of the dairy and meat industries. Instead of a trip to the dump, they get a useful and long-lasting purpose. It’s a perfect example of turning a potential waste product into something people want.
Fredericia cannot make all its range entirely from natural products. There are also elements of its furniture, such as the cushion foam, the moulding for the Fredericia swoon chair, and so on, that involve man-made components.
Here, too, Fredericia is doing all it can to be sustainable. It is expanding its Pato range, which uses plastic that is not only recyclable, but comes from 100% recycled plastic.
It is a move that exemplifies the firm’s drive to protect the environment. This series of versatile, long-lasting designs contributes to the circular economy while bringing customers elegance and comfort.
The raw material comes from two sources, waste from other production lines and recycled household products. So, yes, that empty yogurt pot or medicine bottle really could end out as part of an arty chair. Better still, if the chair ever reaches the end of its useful life, you can dismantle it and reuse the good parts. Failing that, just melt it down and recycle it again.
Making Every Scrap Count
However efficient the manufacturing process, you can’t use every scrap of raw material. Wood and leather are cut to shape, leaving some left over. There is also a little metal and plastic.
Fredericia reuses every scrap it can. For wood, it finds ways to cut it as efficiently as it can to leave as little waste as possible. It chips the unusable scraps for fuel to heat the factory.
The manufacturer sends the leather offcuts to other companies which use them to make small leather goods, such as handbags, gloves, shoes, or boxes. Some bits go to commercial organisations, but others go to local schools, where children use them to craft things like wallets.
Finally, we are ready to answer the question we posed at the start of this blog. “Are Fredericia’s products made sustainably?” The quick reply is “yes”. If you want to find our more, the company has an excellent guide available below.
All Fredericia products are made to last, so you do not need to buy replacements. The manufacturing process uses sustainable raw materials and is as efficient as possible. The company is even taking action to make materials like varnishes and adhesives as sustainable as it can. This includes a move to switch to water-based lacquers. It is also working to cut emissions from the glues vital to the manufacturing process.
Sustainability has not always been as trendy as it is at the moment, but it has always been at the core of Fredericia’s values. In the UK market, it is one of the leading sustainable furniture brands.< Back to all articles