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Sustainability A-Z

No one is perfect. There is no such thing as 100% sustainability. But in each of our actions we aim to be socially, economically and environmentally responsible – by reducing negative environmental impacts and creating positive social impact.

Our Sustainability A-Z is a guiding alphabet for our business. Each of the 26 letters represents a requirement or criteria that governs our operations and that we look for when carefully curating our designers and selecting products. It is brought to life through our vision of a conscious lifestyle and a sustainable future.

A is for Aspirational

Do you aspire a state in which responsible production and consumption is the norm? Where every product you can chose from is produced in the most sustainable way possible, so that conscious consumption becomes natural? We do, and this is why we created Green Collective. By creating a platform that unites independent local designers and connects them to consumers, we put our aspiration into practice. Our requirement is to feature only relevant products, making a sustainable lifestyle actionable.  

B is for Best Practice

Sustainability is at the very core of our business and we are committed to constantly improve. We are dedicated to lead by example, broadly share our insights and working with best practice in sourcing, manufacturing, operations, structures and people. We secure holistic long-term growth and push for more sustainability in the industry. We aim to curate the most innovative and sustainably produced products on the market, and should even better options become available we will be the first ones to adapt.  

C is for Collaboration

We see collaboration as fundamental to sustainability. We work in mutual, respectful and trustful partnership with our designers and other stakeholders. To achieve our shared goals and build a strong and wealthy community together, we foster collaboration between them – acting as an interlink, connecting people and ideas.  

D is for Timeless design

What is more sustainable than standing the test of time? We curate both new and vintage products with innovative yet classic designs that will last for decades. In a fast-paced world with constantly changing trends, we help you to slow down and find consistency. We select timeless products designed for form and function that will never be out of style 

E is for Equity

Equity is an essential component of sustainability. We believe that it is important to reflect the diversity that exists in our society. This means that we set focus on working with designers that share this value and help to foster a just and fair inclusion of all individuals. For example, we collaborate with designers that create jobs for particularly woman and vulnerable people.  

F is for Carbon Footprint

We aim to reduce the environmental impact of furniture and home accessories, and to keep their carbon footprint in all life cycle stages as low as possible. From raw material production, to manufacturing and through to the consumer phase. All raw materials for our featured products are sourced and produced in Europe or live up to qualified certification standards. By shipping most products directly from the designer to the consumer, we reduce miles transported and excess stock. Also, we send your “Parcel with care”. Together with PostNord, we compensate the CO₂ emissions from every designer to customer shipment within Denmark. 

G is for Genuine

We require all of our designers and curated products to be genuine – authentic, real and honest. Sustainability is our highest value, which we share with all of our partners. To become a part of Green Collective, our partners have to be true to their values and act responsible in every step. There is no space for greenwashing, only for real commitment and dedication of continuous improvement.  

H is for Handmade

We honor local craftsmanship and artistry, as we believe handmade products hold a greater cultural heritage and the energy of the craftsperson themselves. We want to contribute to keeping local craftmanship and industries in Scandinavia alive, to support a strong culture in the society we serve. We, therefore, select carefully handmade products and unique pieces that reflect the great attention to form and detail, and quality of design and work of our designers.  

I is for Independent

We have created Green Collective as a platform that represents independent designers, to make their products more widely accessible, and to collectively unite them. We value the liberty and dedication of our designers, and give them the space to be themselves in a community. Against standardized outsourced production, industrialized businesses and economies of scale, independent design nurtures development, creativity, individuality and innovation on a local scale.

J is for Environmental Justice

We aim for environmental justice. Environmental justice means considering the social effects of climate change and ensuring the fair and equitable distribution of environmental benefits and burdens between all people. Typically, people working in supply chains in the global South are disproportionately affected, as negative effects are more tangible there. To control our impact and counter this imbalance, we keep it local and primarily work with designers that source and produce in Scandinavia. Of course, this is not possible for every product. It is, therefore, always our requirement for production to meet high, certified standards that protect our natural environment as well as the health and safety of workers. For example, WAY CPH sources their organic cotton from a farm in Kenya that produces, under high labor standards, with a most effective practice that uses less water.  

K is for Knowledge Sharing

What is the benefit of having knowledge if you do not share it? We are proud to grow and green as a collective, to learn from and with each other. To scale our impact and lead the way towards a more sustainable industry, sharing our knowledge is key. We offer consultancy to our designers and our community, supporting them in creating responsible and sustainably produced products.  

L is for Localism

Our sustainability approach is based on localism. Inspired by the New Nordic movement in the food sector, we feature Scandinavian interior design and favor the use of nearby resources, place-specific knowledge and skills. We collaborate with local designers that root in the community. To ensure the long-term prosperity of our region, our designers work largely with what is available, can be source and produced locally, and create products that embody this identity. 

M is for Raw Materials

We merely feature products made from raw materials that have a low impact on the environment. Our focus is on materials that are natural, biodegradable or, to reduce the use of virgin materials, recycled, from upcycled stock or cut-offs. Currently, our core materials are solid European wood, such as pine, douglas, oak, walnut and beech, recycled steel, stoneware, marble, recycled paper, organic cotton, linen, virgin and recycled wool. In addition, we promote those materials that are certified with qualified standards, such as FSC, GOTS and OEKO-TEX. To support animal welfare, we promote no leather and work for a better traceability of the origin of animal fibres used in our featured products. To date those animal fibres are wool and down, recycled or sourced as a waste product from European agricultural production, and animal hair from Mongolia. 

N is for No to Overconsumption

We acknowledge that consumption, even of the most sustainable products, has an impact on the environment. Every item that we buy and use increases our footprint. We aim to minimize this impact as much as possible by saying no to overconsumption. Our mantra is to buy only what we need, reuse what we already have, and make it last. Choosing high-quality, timeless products is the foundation for conscious and mindful consumption. All of our curated products live up to this ideal and our designers share this value. This is also why we do no sales. We like you to make a purchase because of our designs, quality and sustainability, not our discounts. 

O is for Organic

We want to support what is best for the environment, and therefore rely heavily on organic materials. Our main textile material is organic cotton. It is grown without genetically modified seeds and without using synthetic agricultural chemicals such as fertilizers or pesticides. This helps to save resources, improve soil health and water quality and enhance biodiversity. It also provides health benefits, as organic cotton is free from harmful toxins. This protects your skin from irritation and farmers from illness.  

P is for Prosperity

We want to ensure the long-term prosperity of our region and conduct our business in a socially, economically and environmentally responsible way. Therefore, we follow a local approach to sustainability. We consider the natural and social factors in Europe and especially Scandinavia, using locally available resources and leaning into countries labor laws and standards. Producing close to where we live reduces our carbon footprint while helping to build a wealthy and fulfilled community around us.  

Q is for Quality

We believe that quality fuels sustainability. The products we feature are made to last. Deliberate design, carefully chosen materials and superior manufacturing are basic principles of our designers, to create high-quality products. We choose quality over quantity, to prevent overconsumption, reduce waste and protect resources.  

R is for Recycling

We aim to reduce the use of virgin materials as much as possible. Recycling offers a great sustainable alternative. Using existing materials for a new product helps to prevent waste and safes resources, such as water, energy and fossil fuels. It is an important step to closing the loop and reducing our climate impact.  

S is for Standard

Certification standards are a great way to ensure sustainability requirements on product and production are met. Certification standards are issued by a third party, and give reliable guidance for us, and you as a consumer. Currently, we feature products and raw materials that are certified with either FSC, GOTS or OEKO-TEX 100.  

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certifies important social and environmental standards in forestry. This means that a FSC label on a product ensures that its tree-based materials, like wood and paper, are never sourced from ancient and endangered forests. 

The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) focuses on certified organic cotton, ensures the traceability of the supply chain, and addresses aspects of cotton processing and manufacturing. The standards help to make sure that all stages of production are done accordingly to strict environmental standards and that the working conditions are in line with the International Labour Organization (ILO) principles. 

The OEKO-TEX STANDARD 100 is a label for textiles tested for harmful substances. It confirms that every component of the product, for example every thread and button, has been tested and is safe for human health.  

Certification standards are great, but they are not everything. As they are voluntary, no certificate on a product does not mean requirements are not met. They just have not been additionally verified by a third party. This process is complex and costly, and therefore not feasible in every situation. Instead of relying solely on standards, we engage with the designers and make sure that they align with our values and sustainability requirements.  

T is for Traceability and Transparency

We only partner with companies that have a traceable supply chain, from end-to-end. This means that our designers know exactly when, how, where, and by whom their products were made. Traceability is important as it creates accountability but also because it is the prerequisite for transparency. We require from our designers to be open and share information about the production of the products, like their sourcing, manufacturing and packaging practices. This is the baseline for our sustainability assessment and helps to ensure aspects like safe and healthy working conditions throughout the supply chain. For you as a customer, it allows to know exactly what you are buying, and that you are making a sustainable choice 

U is for Upcycling

In the aim to find the most sustainable production methods, upcycling is a great option. Other than in recycling, the step of breaking the original object down in order to create something new is spared. Instead, the object is taken as it is and transformed into a product of higher quality or value than the original. This safes resources, reduces waste and fosters creativity.  

V is for Vulnerability

We are proud to work with business foundations and communities that demonstrate social responsibility and create jobs and employment opportunities for vulnerable people. This is a way for us to create a positive impact through our business and foster equity. We support the people in our community that are typically disadvantaged and deprived on the labor market, such as citizens with disabilities. Blindes Arbejde is a great example. They work with citizens who are blind or severely visually impaired and creating a balance between good craftsmanship and socio-economic sustainability. 

W is for Healthy and Safe Working Conditions

We believe all people and communities should be treated with respect. We insist upon a healthy and safe work environment in compliance with International Labor Standards. All workers involved in the production of our featured products should have freely chosen their employment, be in a legally binding employment relationship, have the right to collective bargaining and freedom of association, work under reasonable hours and be paid a living wage. Under no circumstance do we tolerate child labor or discrimination in employment.  

X is for Eliminate plastic

We aim to eliminate the use of virgin plastic materials in the products we feature, and in our operations – because plastic is not fantastic. Being made from non-renewable fossil fuels, plastics creates a great negative environmental impact. While we already feature no products made from virgin plastic, and keep the amount of recycled plastic fibres in our featured products low, we have not yet met our goal to only use biodegradable or recycled plastic in packaging. Together with our designer, who ship the products directly to you, we are looking for solutions to improve product wrapping and packaging, and to introduce a zero-tolerance on disposable, single-use plastic. So far, we are reusing as much as possible.  

Y is for Journey

Sustainability is not a fixed state nor a destination. It is a journey. It is constant improvement and development. We, as a collective and as an individual – as a business and as a consumer, have to keep learning, asking and challenging ourselves to become better. We are committed to do the best we can right now and look for ways to improve in the future. We are never standing still. And we are never doing it alone. We view our designers and our customers as partners in this journey. By providing a framework and insights, we support the transition towards sustainable consumption and production.  

Z is for Zero Waste

A long-term goal we support is to eliminate the concept of waste and ultimately transition into a Circular Economy. While we are nowhere close yet, we aim to gradually take steps into the right direction. A current requirement to ourselves and our designers is to reduce waste as much as possible, through reusing, recycling and upcycling. In the future, we plan to curate increasingly more products that enable for circularity.  


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