Good Practice
Eco-Friendly Furniture Buying Tool Aims To Boost Cities’ Sustainability

Public authorities in Europe will be able to purchase more environmentally sustainable ‘urban furniture’ thanks to a new platform, Green Urban Furniture (GUF), European cities will be able to boost their sustainability by using the tool to purchase the ‘greenest’ products. The Green Urban Furniture tool will guide public purchasing staff throughout the entire tender process, such as helping to develop environmental requirements for suppliers, and the comparative environmental assessment of different products offered. The tool is part of the 30-month FUTURE project, which was launched on October 1st. The project is being coordinated by Technological Institute of Plastics, AIMPLAS. The private non-profit association works in the research and development of plastic materials and projects, and offers its services to companies (most of which are SMEs) in the plastic industry sector.

According to a post on the AIMPLAS website, initial calculations show that by using these kinds of sustainable product, cities can reduce their energy consumption by up to 15.5 percent, waste consumption by 10.8 percent and their ‘impact on global warming’ by up 26.5 percent. Adopting the tool will indirectly benefit the European furniture industry by expanding the market for environmentally friendly products, boosting competitiveness as a result.

The tool will be tested and validated by local authorities in the cities of Valencia, Spain and Koprivnika. Around 200 urban furniture products will be purchased in this validation phase, however AIMPLAS expects around 17,500 products to be purchased in the next five years. The validation results will help to develop a “green guide,” which can be used by city councils in purchasing furniture. The tool will also be made available to suppliers.

The project is framed within the European Union’s LIFE programme, which is a funding instrument for environment and climate action. LIFE’s objective is to contribute to the implementation, updating and development of EU environmental policy by co-financing projects.

The Association of Cities and Regions for Recycling and sustainable Resource management (ACR+) is also involved in the GUF project as a dissemination and technical expert. ARC+ is an international network of local and regional authorities, as well as national networks of local authorities, that work towards promoting smart resource consumption and waste management. They do this through prevention, reuse and recycling. A post on the ACR+ website says that the network will contribute to the technical validation of the GUF tool and promote its implementation. They will also distribute the results of the project while connecting different stakeholders. The outcomes of the project will be shared regularly with ACR+ members as well.