As well as its overall fitness for purpose, the most important features of a sustainable product are the quality of its design, materials and manufacture. If a user is able to enjoy a product over a long period of time in terms of its functional and aesthetic appeal, then we can truly say that it is a sustainable design. The same can be said if we know that the materials used and the processes involved in its production have the smallest possible carbon footprint based on a measure of its CO2 consumption across its life cycle. We can extend this thinking to cover the fate of the chair; we should know how it is to be disposed of and recycled.
There are many complex factors that can contribute to the overall carbon footprint of a manufactured product, including the particular lifestyle or activities of an individual, organisation or nation. Carbon dioxide emissions are seen as a major contributor to the greenhouse effect and global warming in combination with a number of other gases. Controlling these effects is possible only by eliminating these gases as the by-products of potentially harmful manufacturing processes and related commercial systems or at least mitigating their effects in some way. The process of mitigation might include taking such measures as reforestation or the use of alternative energy sources, but only if it can be proven that they offer the requisite effects in terms of sustainability. Although emissions trading can be helpful in this respect, and the use of bioenergy is still dogged by controversy and has its own negative issues, these are also routes worth exploring in a constructive way.
All products age over time, and many of them wear in ways that customers do not mind or even find attractive. Provided that wear and tear occurs in the right ways and at the right time, they can give the product an air of maturity.
Michael Kläsener (Designer of black dot)
However, the best results are achieved by eliminating the consumption of materials backed up by changing consumer behaviour and responsible investment. The upshot is that the solution lies in people making better decisions about what products they buy and extending the useful life of the things they own. There is no place for the old throw-away mindset of the past. This behaviour extends instinctively into every aspect of our lives, allowing us to make better decisions about modes of transport, our choice of holiday destinations, our way of life and the way we behave both at home and at work. Sedus is a pioneer of this enlightened approach to sustainability. Its corporate philosophy embraces an all-encompassing view of the products it makes and the way it goes about its business. There is no better example of how this philosophy works in practice than that set by the black dot range from Sedus. The timeless design of black dot combined with its intuitive controls and the high quality and durability of the materials used in its manufacture means that this is a chair that guarantees a long and active life cycle. The chair is manufactured at Sedus’s main manufacturing facility at Dogern in Southern Germany with a fifth of the materials used sourced from within a 500 mile radius of the factory or recycled within the same region. Any repairs or replacements are guarantee including the dismantling, sorting and recycling of any unwanted or irreparable products. To ensure that this process is handled as effectively and as easily as possible, all the components of the chair are clearly labelled. The excellent environmental credentials of black dot means that it is useful when judged as part of other environmental accreditations including LEED.
This marks it out from other products which may not be incorporated in a building’s environmental assessment. There are many factors in the development process that affect both the ultimate appearance of the product and all of its associated costs and benefits. At the same time, the long term validity of the design will ensure its acceptance and hence its longevity. This is true for both the form and function of the product. Longevity is also enhanced when the product is supplied with a replacement programme or with a design that allows specific components such as seat pads to be replaced. All products age over time, and many of them wear in ways that customers do not mind or even find attractive. Provided that wear and tear occurs in the right ways and the right time, they can give the product an air of maturity.