SUSTAINABILITY IS A NATURAL CHOICE
At Skagerak, sustainability runs through our veins and lives in our hearts. For the past fifteen years, we have actively sought a sustainable path, and we genuinely believe that we can make the world a better place if we try harder – together.
At Skagerak, we frequently adjust our organization to meet a greener reality, and we try to help our customers to do the same. In 2020 we initiated two new services that make it easier for consumers to act more responsible: Reclassic and RENT. In 2001 we became FSC certified, and each year we increase our share of responsibly sourced wood. We are also members of the UN Global Compact and B Corp business.
Jesper Panduro became CEO and owner in 2005 and has since led Skagerak to the forefront of modern sustainable furniture production.
Meet him here:
Why and how is sustainability a part of Skagerak’s DNA?
Sustainability is an ongoing journey. In the beginning, we worked with quality as our main priority, but in 2001 we started to use FSC certified wood for our production. It was a small step in a new direction that proved challenging at times because it wasn't always easy to obtain FSC certified wood in the right quality.
That has fortunately changed, and each year we increase our share with the ambition to use 100% FSC certified wood by 2025.
We are heading in the right direction as our share of FSC certified wood reached 85 % in 2019.
Our Code of Conduct is an agreement between us and our suppliers and it contains a multitude of requirements which they, their employees and sub-suppliers are expected to meet.
To us, sustainability is about contributing to a better world. To take responsibility and behave appropriately. That is why our Code of Conduct was a natural next step. Taking production processes, our employee's welfare and human rights into consideration and putting them on paper became a useful tool. Our written requests stem from the ten principles of the UN Global Compact Act that concerns human and labour rights, environment and the reduction of fraud. Together with local experts, our suppliers pass an audit every three years to ensure that they fulfil the demands.
Our materials and our products constituted our first green steps. Now we’ve started improving every other aspect of Skagerak to create a sustainable and responsible business. B Corp. helps us look at our company as a unified whole with the ambition to become the best for the world and not in the world. Sustainability is a slow process, but today it is part of our daily life and a way we make decisions. It can be anything, from the electricity and computers in our offices to a mutual decision about not flying individual orders in for customers.
At COP25 in Madrid, Skagerak and 500 other B Corps publicly committed to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to reach net zero by 2030.
Is it possible for sustainability and business to intertwine without compromise?
Business and sustainability can go hand in hand, and one doesn't necessarily exclude the other. You have to have the courage to look at the most compelling motivation for creating sustainable and lasting change. And then build the business that does that. We used to say that we can't be something for everybody, but something for somebody. That has fortunately created loyal consumers and earned us new ones that are curious about our products and our profile. That is great.
When you own a business, you have to act as responsible as possible. Responsibility permeates most of the things we do. Thus, there is always room for improvement, and when you are working with people, things change naturally. It doesn’t cost more to work with sustainability. It is a priority, and we strive to comply with a responsible process for as long as possible. To me, it is about minimizing the negative footprint and maximizing the positive. We have never estimated if sustainability would pay off. It just feels right and has become a natural choice and the way we develop our business.
What are your sustainable ambitions for Skagerak the next five years?
We have committed ourselves to Net Zero in 2030, meaning that we must decrease our CO2 to zero in 2030. It is about limiting your CO2 outcome, and what you can't reduce you compensate in other ways. It is a huge task, and we are going about it humbly. We make changes in our everyday routines like flying less frequently and upgrading our digital possibilities. We would also very much like to grow and preserve forests. We love wood.
We look for the best possible solutions within the boundaries of what is viable and economically sound. It is about respect and especially about patience that is more than necessary if you want to create a lasting change. Ongoing change can also come from collaborations with suppliers that we convince to change into a more sustainable direction. For us, it is an essential element that we affect more companies to think about the planet instead of exclusively profit. Courage to set demands for your suppliers is another way to make an impact. If we demand the factory owner to change, he probably won’t, but if we encourage, animate and inspire him to run his business responsibly, he might. We believe in the high middle ground through mutual beneficial actions, not in ultimatums.
It is about respect and patience - that is more than necessary if you want to create a lasting change
What can you do to drive sustainability forward?
You can use less water and sort your waste for a start. Just being conscious about it is a small step in a positive direction. You could also consider investing in quality furniture that lasts 15 or 20 years instead of five and buy a chicken that has had a healthy life instead of three that haven't. They are all reasonable steps towards a more sustainable future. Another thing is changing your electricity to a greener solution. That is often just a phone call away and usually exists at the same supplier, thereby increasing the demand for green solutions.
What is the most crucial thing in your work life?
To feel that we have made a stand and have an ambition to make a positive difference – in large and small. To encourage people to act responsibly and be able to do something. We believe that no one can do everything, but everyone can do something.