Certifications and sustainability governance will soon become a compulsory requirement
15 June 2022 Certification on the ground
Looking around our house or apartment, most of us will see plenty of objects made from wood. Wood is all around us. We touch it, we use it, we see it – every day.
To learn more about the processes behind those wooden items, we spoke to Aiqa Halim, Chief Marketing Officer at furniture and homeware manufacturer The Green Factory.
Aiqa told us about the company’s sustainability journey, the role of certification, and what the future of the sector could look like.
While her company is close to 30 years old, The Green Factory concept was launched in 2012, restructuring a traditional carpentry business towards a greener, more sustainable concept.
It adopts a circular approach to the sustainable production of timber products, and aims to guide Malaysians to become a more conscious society.
Can you give us a brief introduction to your company and its position in the market?
The Green Factory is Malaysia’s pioneer manufacturer of sustainable wood products.
We’ve explored the green timber space since 2012 and have established ourselves as a trusted manufacturer and advocate for sustainability, innovation, and talent development within the local industry
We are also proud to carry DAPO, a sub-brand under The Green Factory, which is Malaysia’s first PEFC-certified homeware brand.
In the context of timber/forest-based product sourcing, what is your company’s goal?
Our mission is to provide customers with easy accessibility to Malaysian crafted products that take pride in the sustainability ethos. This includes ethical sourcing of materials, green design, efficient manufacturing systems, and waste management.
Tell us a bit about yourself. What is your background? What are your main responsibilities within the company?
I am a Psychology graduate from The University of Nottingham, United Kingdom and have built a career in corporate communications, public relations, and digital media analysis and insights.
When I joined The Green Factory in 2018, I took on a significant role in developing its marketing arm from the ground up by aligning the company’s sustainability mission with brand development, digital marketing, retail distribution and community building.
How did you hear about PEFC?
We were first introduced to the PEFC/MTCS program by Malaysian government agency Malaysian Timber Industry Board (MTIB), which aimed to increase the participation of local manufacturers and suppliers as PEFC custodians.
Following that, we were connected to the Malaysian Timber Certification Council, PEFC’s national members for Malaysia, who provided tremendous support during our onboarding. We obtained PEFC certification in 2018.
What led you to choose PEFC certification?
Obtaining PEFC certification has given us an advantage in connecting with businesses that prioritise Environmental, Social, and Governance compliance during procurement.
We are also able to cater to the increasing number of conscious retail consumers in the Southeast Asian region who strongly value products that are being made in a responsible and ethical way.
How has PEFC certification benefited your company and helped achieve your goals?
Being a PEFC-certified company has given us a competitive edge in catering to the rapidly growing market of mindful corporations and consumers. Our goal to becoming a global green lifestyle solutions provider is also closer in reach as we garner more traction from customers outside our region.
What does it mean for you personally to work for a company that takes its responsibility for forests seriously?
I feel a great sense of purpose and it gives me joy to support and advocate for the betterment of our environment, society, and humanity every day.
In your opinion, what role will sustainability and certification play in your sector in the future?
Certifications and sustainability governance will soon become a compulsory requirement that timber businesses will have to adhere to as government policies and market demands for green products and services continue to strengthen concurrently in these coming years.
As suppliers and manufacturers in the timber industry, we have the responsibility to prepare ourselves for better transparency, governance, and commitment towards sustainable wood production.
Forests are Home
When forest owners choose to manage forests sustainably. When manufacturers choose certified wood. When retailers choose certified products. When customers choose certified furniture. You help safeguard the world's forests, its ecosystem and contribute to healthy local communities, local workers, and the local economy.