The Climate Change Sprint Challenge: An important step towards sustainable furniture

Last month, forty industry experts joined to discuss factors impacting the sustainability of furniture products in the UK and how barriers might be overcome. Important areas such as material selection, chemical content and certifications were explored and key findings summarised in a new report.

The Climate Change Sprint Challenge

Organised by the Furniture Makers’ Company, the Climate Change Sprint Challenge bought together sustainability professionals and interested parties to identify some of the major environmental challenges facing businesses operating in the UK furniture and furnishings industry. Fidra were delighted to be amongst the attendees and to partake in these important discussions.

The interactive event provided opportunities for participants to explore five key themes: avoiding harm to people and planet, standards and certification, measuring and reducing carbon emissions, material selection and the circular economy.

Chemical Content in Furniture

As reflected in the summary report, there was an overwhelming consensus that chemical content needs to be reviewed with an ambition of harmful chemicals being eliminated”. Throughout the event, it was broadly acknowledged that harmful chemicals, such as flame retardants, pose significant restrictions to the circular economy and unwanted risks to human and environmental health. Attendees agreed that, in addition to eliminating harmful chemicals, steps such as updating the UK’s current Furniture and Furnishing Fire Safety Standards, and development of a database of chemicals used for greater transparency, would be important actions for the future.

Joanna Knight, chairman of The Furniture Makers’ Company’s Climate Change & Sustainability Committee, said: “The Climate Change Sprint Challenge provided a great opportunity for colleagues throughout the furniture and furnishings sector to collaborate and contribute to insightful conversations on the approach to chemicals and how best to address this issue moving forward.”

We greatly welcome the Furniture industry’s engagement on this important issue and support the proposed solutions. Fidra are continuing the work with mattress and wider furniture industry stakeholders towards reducing the use harmful chemical flame retardants and improving chemical transparency. To find out more, visit:  


A full report summarising the Climate Change Sprint Challenge is available to download. To find out more about the Furniture Makers’ Company, visit: