We are thrilled to have been awarded the Guardian's Sustainable Business award at a presentation ceremony in York Way, London. We won in the supply chain category, primarily in recognition of our work in establishing an Environmental Grading system - our way of conveying environmental and ethical information to our customers. The award is a huge credit to our workshops and customers too, all of whom have recognised the importance of making furniture responsibly, and of course furniture that will last!
We were in very salubrious company that night, and it made us proud that as a relatively small, independent business we too can match the innovations of some of the country's biggest corporations. Of course the work does not end here, and we will continue to think of ways to make our business more responsible and environmentally friendly.
Read the Guardian article
Other winning projects
At the awards ceremony, we were very interested to learn of the projects being undertaken by the other finalists. It was refreshing to see so many creative ideas being carried out by committed people. Some of our favourites were:
Levi Strauss has pioneered a new system of making jeans with less water use. We understand that there is a large amount of water consumption involved in fabrics, and new methods they have developed have lead in some cases to a 96% reduction in the amount of water used in a pair of jean's production. They are also campaigning to end wasteful production methods like sandblasting. We don't know much about jeans (apart from our own) but well done to them!
Read our interview with Tim Larcombe, Managing director at Levi Strauss.
British Land is working on a "green roof" project, where many urban sites are fitted with a specially designed roof which incorporates grass and plants. It seems this has had a successful impact in attracting wildlife to sites normally unfriendly to them. For example the rare black redstart bird was seen in one central London location less than nine months after it was built. This sounds like a good project that can be copied by other building companies too.
Let's hope these companies and others keep up their good work during 2011.
He said, she said...
Kim Corbett (director, Chest of Drawers) “We concentrate on taking contemporary designs but then make them out of solid, traditional materials. Our pieces are 100% solid wood - no veneer at all. We can make everything from huge oak dining room tables to our best selling, curved fronted bedroom pieces made from reclaimed walnut. Because we know so much about the way the timber is dried and the pieces constructed, we can guarantee that our furniture will last for many years. This is both key to concepts of value, but also good for the environment."
Jason Delf (director, Chest of Drawers) “We are thrilled to get this award. It means so much to us and our staff, who have worked very hard to bring sustainability issues to the forefront of our business. Our many loyal customers deserve credit too for recognising the value of buying furniture that is responsibly made. There are many great projects out there, whether initiated by massive companies or local businesses. We are just delighted to be amongst such salubrious company!”
Glynn Jones (EU sales, Yask) "Yask has been working with Chest of Drawers for many years on ways to improve timber certification and, partly due to requests from them, are in the process of applying for our FSC certification. Yask has always taken our environmental responsibilities seriously and we have made great progress in partnership with Chest of Drawers. We welcome their efforts to bring this information directly to the customer."
Guardian Judging panel “Chest of Drawers is tackling the whole supply chain from beginning to end, including the little addressed consumer end"
Jane Bevis (director of Business Environment, British Retail Consortium) "As a small to medium-sized enterprise it could have felt managing the supply chain and communicating what they found with customers was too difficult. But they didn't and that's the inspirational element."
Alf Martin (UK sales, Ethnicraft) "Ethnicraft is delighted that Chest of Drawers has received this award. We have been working together for many years to improve the environmental impact of our supply chain, and Chest of Drawers has been a leading advocate not just of improving sustainability, but also passing that information directly to the customer. We look forward to continuing to work together to raise standards in our industry."