5th July 2022
We catch up the online furniture retailer MADE‘s head of quality, Chris Hurst, to chat about their approach to sustainability and responsible sourcing.
So, what have MADE and GTS been doing?
We’ve been working with Global Traceability for over three years in support of our responsible sourcing and supplier compliance strategies. Together with our manufacturing partners we utilise RADIX Tree and work together to trace our timber and timber-derived components right back to their forest origins.
And how do you do that?
It’s about collaborating with our broad supply base, and their partners, and to competently verify the information they share with us that has been acquired from every tier within the supply chain. Then, working in parallel with our internal teams in Vietnam and China, and agents in India, we visited factories, undertook extensive training and collected timber samples for fibre testing. Such activity, along with other core aspects of due-diligence, we aim to continue reducing risk of illegal timber in our supply chains, meeting our UK & EU timber requirements as well as our own sustainability goals.
What are your sustainability goals at MADE?
As part of our ongoing journey towards becoming a more responsible retailer, we’re committed to making our timber sourcing more sustainable and transparent. That’s why we’re working hard to ensure that our wood comes from responsibly managed forests. By 2025, 100% of our timber will be third party certified or from recycled sources.
What’s been your biggest lesson these past three years?/or so far at MADE?
During late 2019/early 2020 we worked closely and extensively with over twenty suppliers to provide information to an EU port authority to meet the requirements of the local EU competent authority. This exercise led to the creation of a small, dedicated internal compliance team, one which focussed on enhancing our due-diligence. The biggest lesson has been the extent to which continual improvement can be applied when a business openly and actively approaches the subject of ‘risk assessment’ and the impact such improvements can have. We now have a significantly better risk management model and there is still more scope to enhance it in partnership with GTS.
Sustainability has never been more important to consumers, what developments in your industry would you like to see in 2022?
Consumers are increasingly adopting a sustainable lifestyle, proactive in making meaningful changes to what they waste, the recyclable content of products they purchase or awareness of the environmental credentials of the companies they buy from. There are so many areas that can be focussed on, but developments around the reduction of single use plastics, or improvements in packaging to reduce waste are all important and consumer facing. But any developments that address land management, from forests to waterways, and the future provision of essential resources is vitally important. As a growing furniture retailer we need to be aware not only of the impact of our sourcing decisions, but those of other retailers in our industry, are having around the world.
Do you think innovation in new materials will continue to play an important part in product design and consumer choice in the future? Can you share an example?
We’re into innovation and are constantly exploring ways of working with suppliers who specialise in new materials. One example? Our Kysler pet bed. The recyclable outer fabric is made using pre-consumer waste, and no water is used in the production process.
Thanks to Chris for taking the time to answer our questions and a great few years working together!