How do you turn a joinery business into a globally successful, family-run furniture-making company? In Wilkhahn’s case, that’s an easy to answer – by offering top quality, pioneering functionality, and timeless design.
Since our foundation in 1907, we’ve seen ourselves as an antidote to the throwaway society and have consistently ensured that our office furniture is durable and can be repaired. Sustainability has always been our top priority, which is why it’s always been part of our board of directors’ mission statement:
If in doubt, we prioritize the ecological aspect of our business over fast profits.
But there’s always room for improvement. And that also goes for sustainable and environmentally friendly approaches. We update our sustainability report frequently to illustrate what has already been achieved and implement the next goals. The new sustainability report for 2023 to 2025 summarizes our approach, what we’ve done so far, and the goals for the future.
Sustainability as a question of quality
Our core principles are to reduce, reuse, recycle and exercise fairness. Which is why we consistently and exclusively develop durable products made of high-quality materials, which helps to treat natural resources sparingly and cut waste. But we also place special emphasis on fair production. And this aspect involves treating our own employees, suppliers, dealers, and customers fairly.
Above all, we consider sustainability as a question of quality. Because the longer people can use our products, the better the ecological and social footprint. Ultimately, it’s a better return on investment too. We count on the power of good design that outlives passing fads. We apply superb craftsmanship and a love of detail to process top-notch materials such as metals, which are exclusively made of recycled material, low-emission or vegan leather, recycled materials, and durable plastics.
In future, we’ll increase the proportion of recycled metal and plastic furniture components and achieve a recyclability level of at least 90 percent for new products. In terms of social and financial sustainability, our sustainable office furniture encourages good health, well-being, and creativity – all of which underpins productivity.
We’ve won multiple awards for safe, durable, pollutant-free, low-emission office furniture manufactured under fair conditions, which guarantee sustainability according to globally recognized standards. Wherever possible, we operate based on circular economy principles. We have had EMAS certification consistently since 2001. The certification confirms that we’re consistently improving our environmental performance and are committed to social responsibility.
To save carbon emissions, most of our consumption of heat and electricity at our headquarters in Bad Münder is environmentally friendly because we use biogas, solar-thermal power, and photovoltaic systems. Consequently, in 2022, the proportion of renewables was already 75 percent, and we only purchase green electricity. As a result, we cut our carbon footprint from 4,000 to under 1,000 tonnes per year. Our goal is to make Wilkhahn headquarters at least 80 percent climate neutral by 2025.
Our responsibility toward nature and the environment means we strive to produce the best possible solutions in all areas and stay faithful to our maxim that “less is more.” This principle applies not only to our design, but also when it comes to avoiding waste, cutting emissions, and using natural resources sparingly.