High-profile “Furniture Day 2022”
Yesterday, the hybrid EFIC conference “The Furniture Day 2022” was successfully held in Brussels. In addition to many participants on site, around 400 listeners were also connected via live stream. They experienced presentations and discussions on the burning issues of sustainability, scarcity of raw materials, price explosion and digitalization.
Prof. Sascha Peters from Haute Innovation pointed out that if we do not change our lifestyles, we will need three earths by 2050. He also sees great potential in the furniture industry to manufacture more sustainably. For example, there are already many ideas on how to do without adhesives or plastic, or how to use other materials instead of wood, leather or foam (e.g. fish scales or coconut fiber).
Maila Puolamaa from the EU Commission explained the opportunities and challenges facing the European furniture industry with its approximately 120,000 companies. In addition to the Ukraine war and raw material problems, these include the “Green Deal”, the most ambitious agenda the EU has ever given itself. The goal is to be the first continent to become climate neutral. Thus, there are various “Action Plans” that have a clear impact on manufacturers.
The panel discussion that followed was led by moderator Mariam Zaidi VDM Managing Director Jan Kurth, Giovanni del Vecchio, CEO of Giorgetti, Stina Wallström, Public Affairs Manager at Ikea, Martin Brettenthaler, CEO of the Swiss Krono Group, and Andre Dorner, Managing Director Germany at Blum (from left). They agreed that the current challenges are immense, that companies need to increase their flexibility, change their purchasing policies and strengthen their communication with customers. They also have their sights set on becoming a circular company. But: “Of course sustainability is important. But if a manufacturer is no longer able to be successful, that is not sustainable either,” said Giovanni del Vecchio. In this context, the participants called on politicians to work together and create laws that help instead of hinder, that apply to all market players – including importers – and that compliance with these laws is consistently monitored.
After the lunch break, Matjaz Malgaj from the EU Commission first explained the current package of proposals for eco-design for sustainable products. He explained what impact the regulations will have on the European furniture industry. These include, for example, a digital product passport and the obligation to avoid substances of concern. The conference was rounded off by two panel discussions. First, Robin Ljungar, environmental manager at TMF, Kees Hoogendijk, general director of CBM, and Cathy Dufour, general director of l’Ameublement France, spoke about the European furniture industry’s reaction to the EU proposals and national initiatives to support manufacturers. Philippe Moreau, President of l’Ameublement France, Maria Porro, President of Assarredo, Jan Desmet, President of Fedustria, Patrizia Toia, Member of the EU Parliament, and Chris De Roock, General Manager of Wood.Be, then discussed what the European furniture industry needs from policymakers in order to continue to compete globally.