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Design consultancy Dodds & Shute is dedicated to the issue of sustainability and presents conscientiously manufactured furniture and lighting on its website. They take the optimistic view that “the design sector can evolve into a transparent and responsible force of change”. The consultants find that aesthetics, pricing and functionality remain criteria for furnishings within buildings as well as when designing and shopping for furniture and other decorative objects. However, they believe that there must also be a discussion about the environmental impacts a product has and how manufacturers approach the issue of sustainability.

A recent survey by Dodds & Shute concludes that Swedish furniture brands are the world’s most sustainable. Nick Shute, co-founder of Dodds & Shute, says that “they are best positioned to benefit from people’s shift in attitude on sustainability”. Marcus Fairs, writing on Dezeen, notes that the survey accuses the furniture sector in general of “turning a blind eye” to environmental concerns. It says many brands fail to provide adequate information to designers seeking to make their projects more sustainable. “We see the traditional shortcomings of our sector and the role it has played in turning a blind eye to these issues,” says the foreword to the report. The authors argue that it is essential that more care and consideration is taken to what “is put inside our homes, hotels, restaurants, offices, schools and developments”.

German manufacturers came in at second place behind Swedish ones in the environmental audit performed for the report. When it comes to the radius of local and international supply chains, Italy (95.4% in a radius of 300 miles) ranked ahead of Sweden (97.4% in a radius of 450 miles) and Germany (99% in a radius of 1,000 miles). Brands in Germany, the UK and Sweden expressed the greatest willingness to show transparency when answering the survey while companies in Italy and Spain were the least willing to do so. The Sustainability Report can be requested from Dodds & Shute by emailing hello@doddsandshute.com.

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