25 July 2024, 10:19
By Furniture News Oct 11, 2023

Aquinos embraces sustainable change

In an era where climate change, biodiversity loss, water scarcity and deforestation have emerged as prevailing themes, concern for the planet’s wellbeing is growing, and responsible furniture businesses are embracing major transformation – Portuguese sofamaker Aquinos, for example, has made a commitment to embrace change and become a more responsible company …

Aquinos Sofas, a member of the Aquinos Group, says it aims to strike “a harmonious balance between the growing demand for sustainable products and the uncompromising standards for value, availability and quality” for which it is known – which is why it is implementing a new strategy, Zero Concept, that encompasses the changes it must make to reduce its impact on the planet.

“Some of the major actions we have achieved through the years are due to the implementation of vertical integration within our company,” states a spokesperson. 

“The establishment of two pivotal companies – Eurotabua in 1994 and Clibed in 2006, each assuming a distinct role as our primary suppliers of wood and fibre, respectively – was the first step towards vertical integration.

“By opening Eurotabua, a wood-cutting and transformation company vital to our sofa production, we have improved our control over quality and the supply chain. In addition, the introduction of wood that has FSC certification amplifies our commitment to sourcing materials from responsibly managed forests (which provide environmental, social and economic benefits). 

“In parallel, Clibed has, since 2006, supplied the company with fibre for our sofa fillings, made with 100% recycled polyester, derived from repurposed fibre remnants. This approach perpetuates the lifecycle of our products seamlessly, eliminating waste and reinforcing our ethos of sustainability.”

Foam forward

As the company’s demands – and the concurrent drive for ongoing improvement – grew, an important element of its vertical integration emerged in 2015. Specialised foam production facility Gofoam now serves as the primary source for the foam utilised in Aquinos’ sofas. 

Gofoam sets itself apart by eschewing the use of CFCs in the foam production process, and refraining from incorporating “filler” materials, says Aquinos. The foam specialist boasts a prestigious array of certifications, including OEKOTEX and IOS MAT, while actively pursuing CERTIPUR USA certification.

“The raw materials supplied to Gofoam to produce our foam meet the specific requirements of low emissions of chemical compounds – a low VOC value – which assures our ability to deliver a product to the market that is not only of exceptional quality, but also environmentally conscientious, aligning with our steadfast commitment to both excellence and sustainability,” states Aquinos.

“When applying this process, we exercise rigorous oversight across every facet of sofa manufacturing, meaning a degree of QC that can reduce the risk of defects and recalls, which are both costly and environmentally harmful. By minimising the need for extensive freight transport, our comprehensive control measures can effectively reduce CO2 emissions, contributing to a more sustainable operational model.”

Source code

“In addition, our commitment to sustainable sourcing grants us the capacity to directly manage and enforce sustainable sourcing practices in parallel with our partners, to enforce habits such as responsible forestry, ethical mining or water conservation throughout their supply chains,” Aquinos continues.

“The meticulous sourcing and selection of our materials is a very thorough and conscientious step in ensuring product quality. Additionally, the deliberate choice of sustainable materials minimises the introduction of harmful materials in circulation. 

“Our fabric selection epitomises just that, by introducing fabrics crafted from natural fibres like cotton and linen, as well as those entirely derived from recycled sources, such as 100% recycled polyester, or fabric produced from 100% recycled PET bottles (for which 37 recycled PET bottles yield one metre of fabric).

“Our fabrics are also OEKOTEX (an international certification system for the textile sector that covers the different stages of the process, from the raw material to the final finishing of the fabrics) and REACH (an EU regulation on the registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals, establishing the framework policy for chemicals in force in the EU) compliant.”

Daily dedication

However, says the sofamaker, it is the daily changes that have the most lasting impact – which is why Aquinos is committed to reducing resource consumption, year by year. 

“Our goal is to continually shrink our ecological footprint while maximising our positive contribution to the environment,” states the spokesperson. 

“In 2022, we achieved substantial milestones in our sustainability journey. We conserved a remarkable 27.5 million litres of water, saved 275 tons of recycled cardboard, spared 123 tons of recycled plastic from further production, and preserved 4675 trees. These achievements underscore our unwavering dedication to resource conservation and environmental preservation. Moreover, we have implemented energy-saving measures such as: skylights for natural light; the majority of our lighting is now LED; and the implementation of photovoltaic panels.

“In conclusion, our company’s journey through sustainable practices and the adoption of eco-conscious materials in our production serves as a beacon of hope and inspiration in the realm of modern business. With unwavering commitment, we’ve shown that it is indeed possible to harmonise comfort and conscience in the world of furniture design.”

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