Behind the Scenes, Product Design, Responsible Furniture

The Role of Ethical Materials in Responsible Furniture

At Grain, we put a lot of research and care into our manufacturing process. Gathering the most responsible materials available to us, we create solutions centred around the needs of both people and the planet. 

Responsible Sourcing

We often get asked where our wood comes from. By working directly with our suppliers we can confidently tell you that all our timbers come from the closest and most responsibly accredited mills in Europe that we can reach. Keeping things as local as possible not only reduces emissions in transport but also allows us to better track our impact. 

  • The solid oak we use to create our Highbeach range and Nested Side Tables is sourced from Germany, from an PEFC mill that only uses local wood. 
  • Our Birch core plywood comes from heavily regulated, responsibly managed, FSC certified regions in the Baltics, Latvia and Finland. This wood is used for our Brenin range, Avon range and Birnam Stool.

So, what makes our suppliers responsible

FSC/PEFC Certified Suppliers

We only work with suppliers who are FSC or PEFC certified; not only do they fit in with the Grain vision, but they also adhere to external regulations. 

The Forest Stewardship Council Certification (FSC) outlines ten principles of responsible forest management for owners or managers to follow. Similarly, the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) promotes sustainable forest management through independent third party certification, focusing on both ethics and the processing of timber.

The primary difference between the certifications is simply their origins. FSC was initially developed for tropical environments which led to the introduction of PEFC in the late 1990s, to bring sustainable forest management to Europe. 

Celebrating Natural Features

We celebrate any knots, inconsistent grain patterns and natural features in all of the wood we source and have worked hard to find suppliers who, like us, refuse to reject expressive wood grain.

Why is this the responsible thing to do? Rejecting non-uniform wood causes so much unnecessary waste and we believe these features bring a real sense of nature to our products whilst having no impact on their functionality. By accepting our wood, knots and all, we are greatly reducing material waste closer to the source, a win for both our suppliers and likeminded homeowners. 

Choosing High Quality Materials

Selecting high quality materials is essential in achieving our circular approach. For products to last for multiple lifetimes, they have to be built from materials that allow for this. This means only using durable, long lasting materials that are easy to repair.

What About Non-wooden Materials?

Metal Components

Just like our wood, all the small steel and aluminium parts which are used to connect our furniture, are produced on demand, meaning we only make things when they’re needed. These companies are based in Northamptonshire, Warwickshire, and Essex. 

If any of our metal components become unusable, they are intentionally made from materials that can be endlessly recycled, without losing their quality.

Linoleum Tops

We use Marmoleum, a brand of lino created by Forbo, as an optional finish on our Brenin and Birnam ranges. Made from 97% natural raw materials and containing 43% recycled content, it contains no phthalates, no plasticisers and no mineral oil. Made in the Netherlands, we buy our Lino directly from a supplier local to our North London manufactures. 

Holding Ourselves Accountable

As we grow and gain access to better, more responsible suppliers, we will continue to centre both people and the planet in our approach. We will continue to work hard to ensure all of our products can be traced back to responsible sources and wherever we can, explore ways to evolve our designs methods and processes to create reduce our impact on the planet.

Right now, we focus mainly on using materials with respected sustainable certifications. Ultimately, we plan to do more to trace our products right back to the source – whether that’s the recycled origin of our hardware or the tree a product was built from. 

Responsible sourcing will always be a top priority for us at Grain.

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