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Danish Furniture Manufacturer Tvilum Promotes PEFC Certification

Tvilum-medDanish furniture maker, Tvilum, is one of the world's foremost producers of do-it-yourself assembly, flat-pack furniture. Based in Faarvang, the company specializes in the production of 'storage-type' furniture – shelving, cupboards, and kitchen cabinets, among others.

The furniture is made from chipboard and medium density fibre (MDF); a small amount of which have solid wood fronts. A 'no-brand' company, Tvilum has no direct sales, but supplies to other well-known furniture outlets and dealers.

Environmental, economic and social sustainability are a very important part of the company ethos. Today, 34% of Tvilum's total energy consumption is carbon-neutral; all chipboard waste is recycled, with 8% of waste wood being used to generate heating and 92% recycled into new boards; and most of their production takes places in Denmark, further reducing the company's environmental footprint. Furthermore, Tvilum took the step of removing PVC from all its products and packaging as far back as 1994 and today its furniture is PVC-free.

Tvilum first became certified to a forestry standard in 2002. This decision was driven in large part by a segment of the company's customer base which made sustainably-sourced products a condition of their continued custom. Tvilum was of course happy to comply with this request as environmental sustainability was already a very important part of its philosophy.

The decision to become certified and only purchase supplies from sustainably managed sources yielded several benefits, not least in terms of customer loyalty and a broadening of the customer base. Yet, gradually the company was unable to source enough material to satisfy the volume of demand – some 12 million pieces per year. This led Tvilum to seek other sources of sustainable wood. Accordingly, in 2006, the company became certified to the PEFC standard. The decision was motivated in part by the fact that PEFC is the world's largest certification system by area of forest with some 239 million hectares, thereby guaranteeing Tvilum a secure and sustainable supply of certified wood.

Today, 99% of the products sold by Tvilum are PEFC-certified; the company applies the percentage-based calculation to its products and is able to claim unreservedly that 70% of the wood and wood-based raw materials in its products are from sustainably managed sources. The company has also achieved PEFC Chain of Custody certification which offers guarantees about the traceability of its products. Today, the company purchases wood from Denmark and Germany and, increasingly from Spain as well.

Becoming PEFC certified has been beneficial to Tvilum both in terms of being able to secure the aforementioned customer base and guaranteed supply of sustainably-sourced raw materials. In addition to these advantages, certification has also enabled Tvilum to become an advocate for sustainability and to promote the PEFC standard both upstream and downstream in its own supply chain. Tvilum has been active in promoting PEFC certification among Danish forest owners.

Similarly, it is actively working with chipboard mills to encourage uptake of certification in this sector too. Although the financial crisis has had an impact on sales, with concerns for environmental sustainability taking something of a backseat to the imperative of economic sustainability, today, the sector is recovering and concerns for the environment are once again close to the heart of consumers. So, Tvilum has in the last decade transitioned from a company that sought certification in response to customer demand, to one that encourages uptake of certification among its own suppliers.

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Danish Furniture Manufacturer Tvilum Promotes PEFC Certification (899.73 kB)