16 December 2021

Sustainable Interior is the new eco-label that will ensure quality and sustainability in interior local projects. The purpose is to offer a tool that facilitates sustainable purchases of interior design and a certification that ensures that an interior project has taken place in a sustainable way. The project has received support from Vinnova in stages 1 and 2 through the Challenge-driven innovation program and is now starting up stage 2, which will run for two years.

Hållbar interiör (Sustainable interiors) is initiated by Indicum interior architects who have identified the problem in that it is today possible to environmentally certify and label most things that have to do with production and construction, but when it comes to the buildings’ content, there are hardly any requirements at all. The lack of requirements and access to relevant information makes it difficult to control and determine the environmental impact of interior design projects.

Kristin Östberg, CEO of Indicum interior architects and initiator of Hållbar interiör.

“Hi is of great importance to all players in the industry. Our needs analysis shows a clear demand among tenants and interior designers. By offering the end customer an eco-label, we create value in investing in sustainable interiors, ”says Kristin Östberg, CEO of Indicum interior architects and initiator of Hållbar interior.

RISE is Hi’s research partner and is responsible for developing the criteria that will be used in the tool and in the certification:
“We are conducting a typical scientific research process in which RISE researchers identified approximately 75 individual criteria by collecting academic articles, reports and documents related to sustainable interior design and existing eco-labels. In the next steps, these will be analysed based on results that will inform the final criteria of the certification,” says Robert Boyer, senior researcher at RISE.

Hållbar interiör is being implemented with about 20 partners, all specifically invited to help reaching the goal.

A plethora of certifications – none for interior design projects

There is a plethora of environmental labels today, such as Möbelfakta for furniture and Miljöbyggnad, LEED and BREEAM for buildings. Despite the fact that the interior design industry has expanded rapidly and furniture consumption has increased over the last ten years (Annual Furniture Statistics 2020, TMF), there is no label that assesses entire interior design projects.

Hi certification will give tenants a measure of the environmental impact of interiors. The Hi tool will show in a clear and educational way how environmentally friendly an interior design proposal is, thus helping both the client and the interior designer to see the consequences of different choices.

“For SGBC, it is a natural step to be involved in investigating whether we can develop a certification that covers sustainability work with interior environments and gets the tenant involved in sustainability work. We see great potential in this and hope that in the long term it can lead to a certification that helps change the way we work, think and purchase interiors,” says Pehr Hård, Certification and IT Manager at Sweden Green Building Council.

Big environmental gains

There are demonstrable environmental gains to be made in terms of both carbon emissions and waste generation by recycling furniture and interior products. According to a report from IVL (C339), at least 21,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide can be saved per year in Sweden by recycling loose furnishings. Desks and desk chairs have the greatest impact, which is why the percentage of reuse of these items is the single most important factor in reducing the amount of CO2 emitted during a change of premises.

“As interest in circular business models has grown, it has become apparent that there is a lack of sustainability certification specifically for interiors. I can see great potential in such a label to guide our member companies to develop customer offers for more sustainable interiors,” says Robin Ljungar, Sustainability Manager at Trä- och Möbelföretagen.

Tangible effects

Assuming that Hållbar interiör is used in 50 per cent of the tenant adaptations that take place each year in Sweden and that the proportion of reuse of just desks and desk chairs in these projects is 90 per cent (it is common for this type of furnishings to be reusable), we will see the following socio-economic effect

Of course, the potential goes far beyond desks and desk chairs.