Covid-19 has changed our world in ways we couldn’t have imagined just one short year ago. It has made one thing apparent: now is the time to stop what we have been doing to re-adjust and plan for a better future. Each day we make a series of choices that affect the future of our institutions and life on our planet. Sustainability means using resources to meet our current needs without compromising the resources that future generations will need. Sustainable decision making is smart decision making. In fact, major investment firms are now focusing on sustainability, including BlackRock. BlackRock is the world’s largest asset manager, with $7.4 trillion in assets under their management. They recently released a Client Statement declaring sustainability should be the new standard for investing. Thinking sustainably can save your institution time and money. Purchasing sustainable furniture is an easy way to start reducing your institution’s carbon footprint.
We all know selecting new institutional furniture can be an arduous process. Getting a committee together to choose new furniture requires a lot of logistical planning and a considerable time commitment. When you look at furniture options you will come across a variety of products made from wood, plastics, and metal. Plastic and metal furniture may seem like the more economical choice at first, based on their initial cost, but they are far from economical once you consider the long-term costs to your institution and the environment.
Plastics and metals harm the environment in a few different ways. Both take a tremendous amount of energy to create, in the form of gas and oil. Plastic wears down quickly and needs to be replaced every few years. Metal chairs have a limited lifespan and are hard to update. Both metal and plastic chairs will end up costing your club 2-3 times more over a 20-year period and finding replacements every couple of years is a real headache.
Wood is the only sustainable option when it comes to quality furniture. Wood is naturally occurring, and therefore re-grows. Not only does wood furniture look aesthetically pleasing, it can also last for 30 years or more in high traffic areas. Wood furniture is easy to refinish and reupholster, which allows you to keep your institution visually up to date. Utilizing the same furniture for 30 years or more can save you tens of thousands of dollars.
Sustainable wood furniture made in the USA is an investment worth making. When you make the informed decision to purchase wood furniture, you not only invest in the future of your institution, but also the future of our planet. The time for sustainability is now.