The word “sustainability” is becoming more and more of a cliche. But at weld & co, we believe that sustainability is more essential than ever. Only if we embrace sustainable practices today will we be able to live and work as we would wish to tomorrow. Sustainability is a mindset, a conviction, a necessity.
Our approach to sustainability
The principle of “sustainability” originally comes from the forestry sector, for which we feel a special affinity because we make products out of wood. Applied in forestry, the sustainability principle states that more timber should not be cut than can be replaced by new growth. More broadly applied, this creed leads us to the conclusion that we must not consume more resources than can grow back or be renewed or replenished in the future.
We are aware that we produce consumer goods that are not essential to sustain life. At the same time, we believe that people long for beauty and that consciously designed spaces make a positive contribution to the potential of the humans who live and work within them. Through our designs, we try to satisfy this longing and to stimulate the positive power of the individual. Furthermore, we focus on timeless shapes and forms and deliberately steer clear of trendy or seasonal colors, for example, so the furniture and home accessories that we design have the longest possible “life expectancy” as products.
In our choice of materials we remain committed to resource conservation, guided by the principle of “As much as necessary, as little as possible.” Even as we create the initial designs for our furniture and home accessories, we keep the materials, and thus the resources, in the forefront of our minds. We employ materials in the manner that maximizes their function. When it comes to the amount of material, we make sure to only use as much as is necessary for the performance of the function.
And in our collaboration with our partners, in both production and in retail, we believe in a relationship of equals. This principle of equality also means that fair value is generated at every step of the value chain. We know that in practice, this approach means that we make furniture and home accessories that many people have to save up to afford, and that remain beyond the means of others. It goes without saying that we wish we could make our products affordable for everyone. But that would come at the expense of other stages along the value chain.
At weld & co, sustainability is a continuous process – always challenging, always complex. We work hard to make our company, our brand, and our products as sustainable as possible.
Products that are particularly far with regard to sustainability are the furniture and home accessories of the Reclaimed Wood collection by weld & co. Learn more about the creation of the collection and the products here.
Everyday sustainability at weld & co
Production in the region
We made a very deliberate decision to produce our furniture and home accessories in Germany’s East Westphalia region – where we are based, and which has a long tradition of furniture-making. This tradition has continued into the present, with a large part of the German furniture industry still located here today. All of our suppliers come from within a 30-kilometer radius of our headquarters in Bad Oeynhausen. We benefit from this close proximity and take advantage of the opportunity to meet personally with our production partners. In addition, we are doing our part to make sure that jobs stay in the region. To offer job security, in manufacturing in particular, there has to be corresponding demand.
Wood and metal resources
The materials oak, reclaimed wood, and steel give our products their distinctive character. And it is important to us that the wood we use comes from sustainable forestry and certified sources. The oak in our products is sourced in Europe and complies with the European and German regulations for the lumber industry, including the legal requirements for the cultivation and cutting of timber. Our suppliers are regularly certified by the Forest Stewardship Council ® (FSC ®) and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes (PEFC).
It is not possible to track the timber for our Reclaimed Wood collection, because we use wood that was felled several decades ago and has already been used intensively. The reclaimed wood that weld & co makes furniture from was formerly utilized in the timber drying process. We believe that the benefits of this upcycling – giving items which would otherwise be thrown away a new, lasting value – outweighs the lack of tracking and tracing. And technically speaking, lengthening the product lifespan by turning “old” into “new” has an extremely positive environmental impact.
Fair prices from sourcing to sales
Demanding lower prices is unfortunately an everyday practice in many purchasing departments. At weld & co, we have decided not to take this approach. We pay our suppliers fair prices because we care about quality – and premium quality can, should, and does have its price.
We also apply this principle of fairness to our retail partners. We believe that our retailers should earn enough selling our products that they can keep their businesses viable in the long term and hopefully operate as sustainably as possible. So we make sure they have sufficient margins and support them in a variety of intangible ways.
To us, fairness toward the consumer means that the purchase price is calculated to cover all steps of the value chain up to the retailer, but doesn’t contain any marketing surcharges or latitude for price wars. Our products have value, and our prices reflect this value. We charge fair prices and offer reliable pricing in return.
“Pay what you can”
Inspired by examples from various cultural institutions, we would also like our products to be available to individuals who cannot afford the suggested retail price. Write an email to firstname.lastname@example.org – together we can find a solution.
Without robust packaging, it’s not possible to ship furniture and home accessories. We therefore attach great importance to the reuse and conscious selection of materials. We purchase a wide variety of parts and materials for our products, and most of them are delivered to us in packaging. Additional packaging comes to us due to returns – which unfortunately cannot be avoided in the mail-order business – and when we purchase brochures, decoration for trade fairs, etc. All boxes and packaging materials that we receive are carefully checked for maximum re-usability. So it might be that every box that arrives on our customers’ doorsteps does not look brand-new – and may even have bits of old shipping labels stuck to it. If a box is no longer usable as such, we cut it up to use as padding.
In the early days of our company we wrapped our wall shelves in bubble wrap or foam sheeting. In 2018 we decided not to add any more of these plastic sheets to the packaging cycle and instead rely on rolls of single-layer, unbleached paper (certified with the Blue Angel ecolabel). If one of our products does arrive wrapped in plastic, then it’s because a delivery came to us in these packaging materials and we are reusing them.
However, weld & co cannot get by completely without new boxes and packaging materials – for the optimal protection of our furniture and home accessories, we have to have some packaging produced. But we take particular care to avoid composite materials or special surface finishes, as these make recycling considerably more difficult. This is why we pack our products in unlaminated and unbleached boxes. And since even small steps ultimately make a big difference, we use paper document pouches when necessary instead of the usual adhesive plastic ones. Of course we comply with all legal requirements for packaging and take part in Germany’s dual system for packaging disposal and recycling.