1,000 Trees and Counting: Sustainability at FRISKA

1,000 Trees and Counting: Sustainability at FRISKA

In lots of ways large and small, we’re doing our bit to ensure our standing desks are authentically, genuinely green. For starters, we’ve just planted our 1,000th tree.

‘We’re committed to sustainability’. Let’s be honest, you hear that from virtually every organisation on the planet right now, although if every company really was as committed to sustainability as they suggest, there’s a fair chance the planet might not be in quite so much of a pickle.

There’s a big, big difference between talking about sustainability and actually being sustainable. And there’s a big difference between the sort of sustainability that involves changing the lightbulb in your desk lamp to LED (not that that’s a bad thing) and acting in a way that makes a significant difference.

When we set out to build our sustainability strategy, we wanted to do it in a real and tangible way. So yes, our sustainability policy ticks the boxes of commitment, monitoring and improvement. But then, because greenwashing drives us bonkers, we wanted to show that we mean what we say and that we believe in the commitments we’re making in the policy. So we set out to bring them to life.

We know there’s lots more we could do. One of the commitments we make in the policy is to keep improving - and we will - but here’s where we’re at so far.

1,000+ trees planted

Actually it was 1,019 at the last count. Tree planting felt like an obvious action for us as a significant part of what we do relies on timber. So every time someone buys a FRISKA sit stand desk, we plant a tree through our partners Ecologi.

We like to think of it as a FRISKA forest planted by you, and every tree added to it helps to scrub carbon from the atmosphere and lower our carbon footprint.

Young Beech seedling - Ecologi picture

We only use sustainably sourced wood in our desktops

‘Sustainably sourced’ feels like one of those phrases that can mean pretty much whatever you want it to mean, doesn’t it? So here’s what it means at FRISKA.

First, for all our desktops that use new timber (which is most of them), that timber only comes from FSC-certified forests in Wales.

FSC is the Forest Stewardship Council and FSC certification means that “the forest is being managed in a way that preserves biological diversity and benefits the lives of local people and workers, while ensuring it sustains economic viability.”

There are actually ten principles to which a forest needs to adhere before it receives FSC certification. These range from the (probably) obvious – like monitoring the environmental impact of forest management – to the less apparent, such as protecting community relations, workers’ rights and the social impact of the forest.

So when we say our wood is sustainably sourced, we don’t simply mean that as one tree is felled another is planted. Sustainability is about operating responsibly as well as environmentally. So it matters to us that our timber comes from forests that do good in the widest sense of the word.

Not all the timber in our standing desks is new, of course. Our beautiful reclaimed scaffold board desktops bring an authentic vintage feel to your desk, with all the natural knots and tear marks you’d expect. By reusing the scaffold planks, we enjoy the double whammy of using fewer virgin resources while relishing a desktop that’s full of character.

We use recycled steel in our standing desk frames

Virtually all our standing desk frames are manufactured in Sweden, and 30% of the steel comes from recycled material. We’re working to nudge that figure up without making any compromises on quality.

We keep our carbon footprint low

For every standing desk company, carbon footprint is a bit of a minefield. As we’ve just explored, our frames are made in Sweden. If we made them in the UK, we’d cut our carbon footprint significantly. But would we really? Because all those raw materials still need to come from somewhere.

So our position is this:

  • Most of the wood for our desktops comes from forests in Wales, not very many miles from our factory and warehouse which is in Mid-Wales. Because our desktops arrive separately from the frames, it enables us to save lots of space in their shipping, which further reduces our carbon footprint.
  • It’s a similar story for the raw materials used to make our frames. Delivering raw steel to Sweden, then shipping an assembled frame from there to the UK is much more carbon-friendly than shipping a fully assembled frame or desk from the Far East. We’re not pretending there’s no carbon impact – clearly there is - but we feel we’re keeping it as low as possible and offsetting some of the carbon we do generate through our tree planting.

It's worth taking a moment to consider how some other standing desk manufacturers operate.

If your frames are all manufactured in the Far East, there’s clearly a carbon impact that will require some serious offsetting to overcome. And if you offer ‘sustainably sourced’ wood that was sustainably sourced on the other side of the world, then it’s rather less sustainable by the time it reaches you.

Now, we believe everyone’s serious about doing their bit and everyone’s making improvements, but if sustainability is an important factor in your standing desk choice, it’s worth doing a little digging to explore just what ‘sustainable’ means in relation to the desks you’re researching.

We’re working with our supply chain

It’s not all about us. Figures vary a little depending on source, but around 80% of a business’ carbon emissions come from its supply chain. So even if we made our processes greener than the Incredible Hulk on an all-broccoli diet, we’d still only be tackling a fraction of our total carbon footprint, direct and indirect.

As you might imagine, making the world’s best standing desk involves rather a lot of people and processes. We won’t bore you with all of them, but here are a couple of examples of how we’re working with suppliers to ensure that they are supporting our sustainability ambitions.

The desktop finishers: Make anything with wood and you’ll be left with some waste – offcuts, shavings and the like. The plants we work with to create our wonderful desktop finishes recycle that waste wood, converting it to heat and green electricity.

The timber sawers: It’s a similar story at the timber yards we work with. You’ve probably seen the mighty plant equipment used to fell and strip trees ready for processing. We work with companies that use the latest sawing and planing technologies; technologies that are less energy intensive than their predecessors. And all our timber partners are working to improve their environmental performance by using internationally certified energy and environmental management systems.

Working sustainably every day

It’s probably fair to say that there’s not a business in the land that isn’t closing the windows and turning the heating down a little more, and leaving the lights, laptops and coffee machine on a little less in an effort to save energy.

We are doing that, but so is everyone else. What matters to us – what has always mattered to us – is what more we can do, and what bigger difference we can make. That’s our approach to our standing desks. It’s our approach to sustainability too.

If you’d like to find out more about sustainability at FRISKA – or want to explore your standing desk options - we’re always happy to chat. Get in touch with us here.

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