The interiors industry is grappling with an inadequate ability to accurately quantify and convey its carbon footprint impact, a challenge recognised by the Furniture Industry Research Associate (FIRA). In a dedicated effort to transform this issue and take responsibility, leading interiors company, BoxNine7 have considered how they can put their proactive efforts to use and enact a meaningful change for the planet, pioneering the industry towards a sustainable design future.
As Britain’s first B Corp certified interior design collective, BoxNine7 recognises the importance of a comprehensive approach to responsibility and sustainability within a business. This recognition has allowed the brand, who offer turnkey furnishing solutions and interior design, to embrace a holistic perspective throughout the organisation, going beyond its design and specification processes.
As a part of Accouter Group of Companies, and in line with the collective’s Sustainability Manifesto, the company aims for 100% sourcing from responsible suppliers and achieving full traceability across their supply chain. However, the interiors industry faces significant challenges and scrutiny when considering its sustainable practices, especially positioned so far behind the fashion industry. The fashion industry has received notable and significant attention for its negative environmental impact, particularly due to its association with fast fashion and the production of clothing at a large scale.
Through a newly launched ‘Conscious Collection’, BoxNine7 have shown that there are other unique approaches to embarking on the sustainability journey, towards reaching the goal of their Sustainability Manifesto.Sustainability in interiors is starting to become a part of the larger conversation on environmental responsibility and consumers of the industry are becoming more conscious of the materials, manufacturing processes, and supply chains behind furniture and home goods. As a forward-thinking and environmentally conscious company, BoxNine7 have been looking to understand the impact of their carbon footprint of everything they purchase from suppliers. To do this, the brand have been working with the Furniture Industry Research Associate, otherwise known as FIRA who have identified that the interiors industry currently lacks standardised stamps or certifications to effectively measure and communicate its carbon footprint impact, a huge challenge in itself. As a result of this, consumers, businesses, and designers continue to struggle to assess the environmental implications of interior design products and practices accurately.
The absence of these industry-recognised stamps further hinders the industry’s progress towards sustainability and responsible consumption. However, whilst this gap is being addressed, BoxNine7 are showing that there are unique approaches to embed sustainability within its practices with its current resources through their new Conscious Collection. Through a partnership with leading real estate developers, Ghelamco, the brand states that their new Conscious Collection “isn’t labelled the ‘sustainability’ collection for a very good reason”, as the brand refreshingly admits they are “not 100% sustainable”. Although BoxNine7 are on their journey ‘towards a more sustainable design future’, and so conscious of their every step. From handcrafted and carbon conscious, to non-toxic and organic, the brand’s transparency on this is illustrated through ‘Environmental Icons’ which are labelled and explained alongside products making up the full collection. The brand states that they “believe in transparency and responsible sourcing. To forever increase our offering of responsible products, we need to seek full traceability from our handpicked suppliers. The role of the environmental icons is to grade our supply chain’s products whilst giving you clarity and confidence in buying from us”.
The collection is composed of products such as headboards crafted from recycled plastic, a coffee table constructed using carbon-neutral components, and plush accessories fashioned from eucalyptus silk, sourced from fellow B Corp certified enterprises. The collection’s show room is housed in Ghelamco’s inaugural UK development, The Arc, situated in Shoreditch. The building is fully electric, and holds triple sustainability certifications – BREEM, WELL and DGNB. With 30% lower carbon emissions than other multi-fuel operated developments, the building is full of cutting-edge technology. Doubling on the sustainability collaborations, the playful patterns and soft earthy palette of the collection pieces have been complimented by the wall colourings, adorned with the striking paints of Britain’s first B Corp certified paint company, COAT paints.
“The team at BoxNine7 approached the collaboration at The Arc with passion, bringing fresh and creative ideas which married well with sustainable credentials and carbon-conscious development. The show flat they delivered was a great representation of the vision we shared and dealing with the team throughout the process has been a pleasure.”
– James Hicks, Residential Sales Director, Ghelamco.
AGC ARE B CORP™ CERTIFIED – WHAT DOES ACTUALLY THIS MEAN?
Earlier this year, Accouter Group of Companies were proud to announce our B Corp™ certification, being the first British Interior Design Collective to achieve this. Although the discourse of sustainability has risen significantly in recent years, the definition of a B Corp™ and how it develops us as a luxury studio may not be so clear.
B Corps™ are defined as businesses that want to achieve more than just making a profit. Their company goals and values are committed to creating a positive impact on their employees, communities, clients and suppliers throughout their strategic decisions and operations.
As a B Corp™, our brands including BoxNine7 take a holistic approach, understanding that the overall design and specification process itself is not the only way for us to be responsible and considerate. Sustainable milestones, as well as our Manifesto, gives our environmental ambitions credibility, and therefore proves our mission to be both purposeful and achievable. However, our B Corp™ design practice also must pay as much attention to our Social responsibilities and Corporate governance. This certification ticks every box in relation to a full ESG strategy.
BUT WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR BOXNINE7’S PROCESS & CLIENTELE?
“Both on the run up to and after achieving our certification, our process here at Accouter Group of Companies has gradually shifted.
We are constantly working on strategies and educating our supply chains to allow for our clients to purchase fully responsible and traceable product, in environmentally friendly packaging.
The key changes we have incorporated at our studio include finding local suppliers in the areas which we are designing interiors for, instead of further national or international suppliers. Not only is this supporting local businesses, but it also helps to protect our planet.
Another change to our process, is that we work with a trusted select group of craftsmen and artisans here in the UK, saving unnecessary emissions, meaning that we are being mindful of our carbon footprint.”
- Lucy Day-Shanks, Group Director, Accouter Group of Companies
AS BRITAIN’S FIRST B CORP™ CERTIFIED INTERIOR DESIGN COLLECTIVE, WE HAVE MADE 5 PROMISES:
- We commit to proving to you that we can make a positive impact on the world by acting and evolving as a responsible company.
- We promise to direct our efforts on measures that deliver the biggest impacts, aiming to continuously review and improve AGC’s environmental performance.
- We pledge to play our part in building an industry that is filled with, and supports talent from all backgrounds, abilities, ages and identities.
- We believe in the power of kindness, and pledge to use the powers of our business to create a positive impact on society. We support the Red Cross and charities that mean the most to our people.
- We understand that being a ‘Force for Good’ is a journey without a destination and we are committed to continuously improve and evolve our business for good. For more information regarding our B Corp journey please click here.