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Sustainable Production in the Canadian Furniture Industry


Jesse Good

on 6 April 2010

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Transcript of Sustainable Production in the Canadian Furniture Industry

Double click anywhere & add an idea Part 1 - Research Questions

Part 2 - Introduction of Theoretical Models

Part 3 - Characteristics of the Industry

Part 4 - Key Actors in the Industry

Part 5 - Interview Findings

Part 6 - Life Cycle Model and Considerations

Part 7 - Internal and External Drivers Model

Part 8 - Conclusion and Discussion Sustainable Production in the Household Furniture Industry A Presentation by Marissa Bender, Simon Song, and Jesse Good What factors or motivators push the leading companies in the household furniture manufacturing sector toward sustainability? Are there commonalities between the sustainability leaders that aren't present for the sustainability laggards? The Life Cycle Model Internal and External Drivers Model Economic size
Sector Composition
Management & Ownership
Foreign Trade & Trade Agreements
Monetary Issues
Knowledge & Information

Characteristics of the industry Economic size
Sector composition
Management & Ownership
Foreign trade & Trade agreements
Monetary issues
Knowledge & Information

Characteristics Economic size Sector composition Geography Management & Ownership Employment Labour Technology Markets Foreign trade & Trade
agreements Monetary issues Knowledge & Information Mostly private, Canadian ownership
Strong tradition of family-owned and operated
Not much hiring of management talent from outside of the industry
General lack of knowledge of innovative management practices Traditionally low-wage, low-skill jobs
History of negative health impacts due to materials and processes
Strong gender division in labour; women tend to be employed in occupations such as sewing, hand sanding, veneering or finishing, while men are assigned higher status and higher paid jobs such as cutting, upholstering, carpentry, painting and assembly Low capital investment required to enter market
Significant variations in technological sophistication between firms
Recent advances like CAD and CNC not widely adopted "WalMartization effect"
Large independent buying groups
Stong pressure to build low-profit margin, standardized furniture
Boutique shops cater to more informed, higher-income clientel
Manufacturers have lost a degree of control over design to retailers
Some manufacturers have moved into the retail market Canada Trade Balance - Household Furniture Top 10 Countries by Export Destination International trade is significantly affected by exchange rates and capital flows
When the dollar appreciates demand for Canadian exports decreases
However, a high Canadian dollar allows for cheaper acquisition of capital equipment purchased in the U.S. There is a lack of cooperation between actors along the commodity chain, as well as a pronounced lack of risk taking in the Canadian industry Governments
Raw materials suppliers
Secondary material suppliers
Manufacturing firms
Industry associations
Design professionals
Professional associations
Labour and unions
Transportation service providers
Competing industries
Decorating and furnishings entertainment industry
Certification providers
Waste industries
•90% green material
•Avoids using hybrid materials and harmful chemicals
•FSC certified wood
•Soy Based Foam

Ami Mckay Line
•Avoid toxic material substances and reduce VOC’s
•Furniture that is durable
•Local production/suppliers
•Mineral Fire Retardant
•Latex Foam

•Natural latex is derived from a renewable resource and obtained from the sap of the (Hevea Brasiliensis) a rubber tree.
•Soy Based Foam actually contains very little soy, mixed with polyurethane.
•Polyurethane foam also known as “Polyfoam,” contains two harmful carcinogens, Toluene diisocyanate (TDI) and methyloxirane
Manufacturing Sector (innovators) Natural Latex Foam versus Soy Based Foam EverGreen line
Sustainable or reclaimed wood
Water-based glues and stains
Environmentally-friendly manufacturing processes
Eco-friendly fabric
100% natural latex
Made near to DeBoer's
Information to customers
Items shouldn’t "look" green
True 100% eco and hybrid options
First in Canada Three year advanced diploma
Combined courses in business, photography, art history, design, and self-practice
Concept of local production central to program
Courses offered in sustainable design
Largest intake of 1st year students ever

Hired Jed McKie as Sustainability Director
Committed owners
Company sustainability goal:
to achieve BIFMA level standard
0% waste
Separate technical and biological nutrient streams
Developed an Integrated Management System
Constantly educating suppliers, competitors, and employees

Sustainability is a “moral and ethical obligation”
Local production
Material selection
Avoid sacrificing quality
Employees take a piece of raw lumber > finished product
Invests in technology and skilled employees, gives flexibility
Increased knowledge and desire to buy local
Certified wood
Stains, glues and finishes
natural wool, natural latex
Extended producer responsibility
Repurpose or recycle or biodegrade
5% of the purchase price or 15% off replacement purchase.
Greenwashing Guiding Principles:
shall be safely borrowed from, and later returned to our Earth;
shall not harm human beings, present and future;
shall inspire and comfort our clients;
shall be of lasting beauty and quality. Retail Sector Manufacturing Sector (and a furniture design school) The Life Cycle Model Internal and External Drivers Model Sustainable affordable inputs
Third-party certification
Labour standards
The right qualities
Creatively rewarding process
Wants and needs of customers
Design for disassembly
Design to minimise waste

General efficiencies
Local production
Skilled labour
Management systems

Bulky and heavy
Marketing and information
E-billing Durability

Product stewardship
Take back buy back Replacement parts

Design for disassembly

Drivers Barriers Opportunities Leadership and Corporate Culture
Market Forces
Good for Business
Status Quo
Lack of Awareness
Lack of Expertise
Green washing

Consumers, Retailers and Manufacturers can do more to create greater pressure on firms to move towards more sustainable practices
Manufacturers can benefit by partnering with 3rd party associations, experts and consultants
Research and development
Design First approach
Regulation & Certification
By networking together, manufacturers can improve economy of scale issue reducing their costs

Leaders Laggards •Internally driven starting with the owners
•Design and Capacity
•Externally driven by market forces
•Green washing

Key Actors
Full transcript