As a company we’ve been manufacturing furniture for almost 50 years. We supply trade customers (retailers throughout the UK and ROI) and we formerly sold directly to you, the consumer through this website and from our retail outlet on the Dublin Rd, Monaghan Town – In this blog, read about what we are doing in regard to sustainable timber use and also in terms of general environmentally efficient practices.
Environmentally sustainable policies are now at the forefront of many firms strategies. Some call it corporate responsibility, others call it “ass covering”. Firms engaged who highlight their achievements are often praised and sometimes criticised for “greenwashing” – making it look like they care, when they really dont! Leaving those debates to one side, for many small to medium sized Irish firms such as ourselves, we are always doing our best to improve our business in all its dimensions. The reality as I perceive it is that economics is driving environmental efficiency. And naturally enough there is often a positive correlation between improving your business and improved environmental practices. Therefore it makes good business sense as well as good for the environment.
For instance, we carried out a lighting survey to reduce unnecessary light usage. Its good for the environment and good for the bottom line. Many of the lights are now controlled from master switches allowing total shut off of all bulbs. We also installed numerous sensor lights to allow light activation only when members of staff are present. This is quite important in a large production, storage and retail plant such as ours. In the retail outlet the lights are movement activated – however they also have a feature which allows them to gauge the electrical light needed at each point to bring the total “lux” level up to the pre-set amount. In other words, the lighting nearest the shop windows will rarely fully shine while those lights in the darkest corners of the showroom will light up most to compensate for poor natural lighting.
Many years ago, local environmental agents had the foresight to encourage furniture manufacturers such as ourselves, to think about switching to biomass for our heating requirements. What we did was in essence simple – we installed a wood burner which could burn unused wood offcuts and the generated heat is circulated throughout the plant! By doing this we slashed the amount of heating oil we were using by 80% and we’ve been reaping the benefits ever since. New technology advancements in air compression systems has enabled us to install and make savings through a “geared” air compression system – rather than running constantly, the air compression unit increases or decreases activity to maintain a constant supply of air through the system. Initial costs of installation of new equipment can be high, however the long term benefits far outweigh short term considerations.
Like all businesses, we have Emergency Plans in place to deal with fire, leakage or other hazardous threats. By being prepared, we aim to be able to minimise environmental impact should anything go wrong.
Our local environmental partners, McElvanney and Co, have a good system of waste collection. It allows us to segregate our waste and ensure that the absolute minimum goes to landfill. We segregate in the offices and at various points on the factory floor. We also separate our scrap metal and glass, again allowing maximum value extraction and a minimum amount of material going to landfill.
When it comes to the furniture we manufacture in Ireland, all the materials we use comes from European or American processors who already adhere to strict environmental standards. This includes sprays and boards. Thankfully our production partners in Asia are large professional firms who are quite proactive in the environmental field – they source their own timbers for logging to ensure quality and sustainability. They are already meeting strict timber certification standards in the USA (where they do most of their business) and therefore they are already compliant with standards in the EU. Unfortunately some of companies who we investigated with a view to doing business were less than forthcoming on their environmental practices. Needless to say we didn’t deal with them. These firms have to sharpen up if they want to be able to export.
In terms of logistics the increasingly competitive nature of global commerce, rising energy costs and decreasing margins has lead to a sea-change in how furniture manufacturers organise their delivery service. From the company was established in 1962 until 2007 we had our own fleet to carry out all deliveries – this often led to lorries driving huge distances to deliver a tiny amount of furniture. Nowadays we use shared distribution managed by a specialist firm who deliver goods from a variety of manufacturers to locations all over the UK and Ireland – the result, quicker, cheaper and more environmentally efficient distribution. Economics is driving (excuse the pun) many of the environmental improvements in industry.
In the next blog, we outline some of the pitfalls and inconsistencies with the current system of forestry certification and in some of the environmental legislation! Consumers can call in to the Drumbriston Furniture outlet on the Dublin Rd, Monaghan Town for a full selection of these and more products. For more information click on www.drumbristonfurniture.ie For trade contract enquiries please get in touch with us on this site.