Circular Economy in furniture sectors

Looking beyond the current “take, make and dispose” extractive industrial model, the circular economy model aims to close the loop, creating a system that allows for the long life products, optimal reuse, refurbishment, remanufacturing and recycling of products and materials

More ‘circular by design approach’

Shifting the current linear economy into a more ‘circular by design approach’ is a challenge for the whole society towards the stock of natural resources and for increasing competitiveness, innovation and jobs. However, it also poses challenges such as financing, skills consumer behaviour and business models
Both, “The Remanufacturing Market Study” prepared by the European Remanufacturing Network, and the report “Towards

the Circular Economy” focuses on eight sectors where the implementation of circular economy may be relevant.
Among these, the furniture sector is the only traditional one included in both reports.
Circular economy interventions have the potential to foster the European furniture industry, with repair, refurbishment and remanufacture allowing value recovery, economic growth and job creation, while saving on resources and the environment.

163,300 jobs could be created by implementation a full transition to a circular model in the EU furniture sector

€4.9 billion. estimated potential increase in GVA from improved circularity in the EU furniture sector by 2030

of 10.000.000 tonnes discarded Furniture in EU countries each year, the majority of which is destined for either landfill or incineration

28%, European furniture sector percentage of furniture worldwide manufactured by EU member states

The EU furniture industry comprises approximately
126,000 firms, representing
a €84 billion market

Furniture pieces are normally purchased for replacement purposes, however the office furniture subsector and contract sector (whether it be hotels, restaurants, schools, hospitals or care homes) work in a different way, since they are usually replaced due to aesthetic and corporate branding reasons and normally carried out on an entire-office or hotel basis. Which makes both subsectors ideal for remanufacturing activities.
The creation of new business models based on circular economy across the furniture sector opens new opportunities from an economic and social perspective.
One of the consequences of this change is the requirement of skills and competences for enhanced performance, focusing on: entrepreneurship, strategy, innovation, system thinking, product design, sourcing and manufacturing, sales and customer value creation or product use and return chains.

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This project has been funded with support from the European Commission – application number 2017-1-BE01-KA202-024752. This publication [communication] reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.