Think Global Think Green
My feet hurt wandering around Greenbuild, so I plopped down into the nearest chair--and made a nice discovery.
The exhibitor, Global Total Office, is a manufacturer and distributor of office furnishings including seating, casegoods, systems and storage. Though it operates throughout the world with an extensive product line, I wasn't familiar with the company. Fair game for the sales rep--I was, after all, sitting in their chair--I listened to the pitch and was duly impressed by their environmental commitment and, especially by the way they communicate their story.
Global's Environmental Report lists its green initiatives, but with explanations that are useful for less informed customers. For example:
"ISO Certification ISO 14001 is the benchmark international standard for the implementation and operation of an environmental management system. Certification requires a commitment to continuously improve practices that protect the environment. To meet that responsibility specific environmental objectives and targets need to be set, as well as a program to reach those goals and a system that evaluates both the process management and results. At Global we're proud to say we're ISO 14001 registered."
"At Global we produce millions of chairs every year, which means we use a tremendous amount of upholstery foam. When you use that much of any material you need to take a really hard look at it from an environmental standpoint. All of the foam upholstery material used in Global products is 100 percent free of CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) to preserve the earth's ozone layer. We're also pushing the envelope by initiating the use of soy-based compounds in foam and water based glue adhesives to reduce our reliance on petro-chemical based polymers. It's not an easy change but we're working hard at it."
Ok, this is a little misleading. Upholstery foams present a number of environmental conundrums for manufacturers but CFCs aren't one of them. They were banned more than 20 years ago because of their damage to the ozone layer. Hopefully Global will concentrate on some of the other toxic additives like halogenated flame-retardants which have been linked to multiple health and reproductive problems.
Still, I like this report. Thanks, Global, for your good work--and the chair.