The office is playing its part in the race to a carbon neutral world.
Healthier work environments have been on the agenda for some time, and now offices can be healthier for the planet.
As industry and governments work to help the UK achieve the energy transition to a fully decarbonised economy, the repercussions are being felt in every environment.
The oil and gas industry in particular has voiced its commitment to reducing its own emissions in the move to a fully decarbonised economy.
And while the office 9-5 may have undergone a seismic shift, businesses still need a space where teams can come together to collaborate and operate efficiently.
That office space reflects their ethos and values, and it is important a company demonstrates it practises what it preaches.
Recycling bins and oxygen-pumping plants have been around for some time, but there is now a growing trend that is changing the very fabric of what makes up the office – its furniture.
Advances in technology, combined with an increasing concern for the sustainable use of limited global resources, mean products are coming to the market that combine a green agenda with comfort and style.
So what does our new eco-friendly office furniture look like?
You could do worse than the Smart Ocean chair. It is the first ever ergonomic chair to be built from discarded ocean fishing nets.
Each chair incorporates almost two pounds of recycled fishing net material collected and recycled by Bureo, an emerging venture developing innovative solutions to prevent ocean plastic pollution.
Its lightweight design also minimises the environmental impact of its shipping. Made of 100% recycled aluminium, its simple, modular design makes it easy to disassemble and maintain rather than replace the chair completely.
And there is no compromise in comfort. Drawing inspiration from the three-dimensional approach tailors take when creating suits, the manufacturer wanted to build a minimal mesh chair with a back that automatically fits the user.
Their form-sensing mesh technology instantly adjusts to and moves with every unique user so when you sit in the mesh task chair, it fits like a perfectly tailored shirt.
The Smart Ocean is a good choice for a desk chair, but what about soft seating and break-out areas? For a different aesthetic, it is worth considering bamboo.
Unlike hardwoods - which can take 50 years to grow to maturity - bamboo only takes four to five years to mature.
This fast-growing trait means mature shoots can be harvested every year and the plant doesn’t die so there is no risk of deforestation.
Its hardwood-like characteristics give it amazing strength and stability, and it is classified as 90-98% sustainable. It is FCS (Forest Stewardship Council) certified, 100% recyclable and also CO2 neutral, due to the large quantities of CO2 it absorbs when growing.
The Reece (pictured) is a good example of a clever design that uses bamboo.
It is 100% recyclable and is made from 83% recycled content. Its steel legs form a critical part of the structure, helping to minimise the frame content. It’s designed to be shipped without its legs, reducing the size of the product for ease of installation and reduced shipping volume.
The frame is also designed for disassembly, giving you the ability to replace or repair individual parts, giving the product a longer life. At the end of its lifecycle, the individual parts can easily be separated for recycling.
Which is not the end of the Reece’s ingenuity. There is also a version produced using recycled plastic.
You can choose your recycling to be from used plastic bottles, or from upcycled marine plastics. These have no VOCs (volatile organic compounds) in it, which have been shown to have an adverse effect on indoor air quality.
Andy Davidson of Revive said, “We’ve seen a huge surge in interest in eco-friendly products for the office.
“Companies working on carbon capture projects and cleaner energy are looking at how they operate and their own internal procurement, and demand is definitely growing for sustainably sourced office furniture.
“Business understands that focusing on a net zero world is also increasingly important to its workforce, particularly the future talent that they need to attract.
“Revive has introduced a sustainability initiative to work with suppliers that sign up to strict environmental policies, while making the most of technological and innovative design efficiencies.
“The global mindshift has reached the office, and there is now a real momentum to create a greener atmosphere in our working lives.”