Work spaces that work for the environment

May 17, 2024

We want to live in a green and clean world. We certainly don’t want to contribute to climate change.

Climate change has led to increasingly unpredictable and extreme weather events; collectively, we all need to minimise our environmental impact.

We know that our clients need to invest in workplace fit-outs and refurbs to ensure they are an attractive, healthy place to work. These spaces need to be sustainable too, as there are certain targets that both public and private sectors need to stick to. After all, a business can’t market itself as being sustainable unless it is walking the walk.

There’s more public awareness about ‘greenwashing’ and companies making promises they can’t/won’t meet. Luckily for our customers, we have everything in place to ensure that when you invest in a workplace fit-out, update or refurb with Formm, you can be confident it is actually meeting strict sustainability standards.

 

Here’s a little about our policies and how we can be so sure we can achieve low carbon fit-outs…

Our commitment is clear – we aim to achieve Net Zero by 2030, aligning with the UK Government’s strategy. Net Zero balances the amount of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere with the amount removed.

We can achieve this by reducing our direct and indirect emissions (scope 1 and 3). And by reducing our indirect emissions from purchased energy (scope 2).

We’re also adhering to the principles of the Paris Agreement, which aims to limit global warming to below 2 degrees C in comparison to pre-industrial levels.

This is all underpinned by a robust EMS, or Environmental Management System, which is designed in accordance with ISO14001 and BREEAM standards. (Please see our little sustainability glossary at the end of this blog if this is all getting a little wordy!)

Our EMS helps us to manage and reduce our environmental impact and means that we can ensure that our fit-outs are eco-friendly. We closely monitor our environmental performance, using this data to inform our Carbon Reduction Plan. The plan outlines our commitment to reduce and minimise our fuel, energy, paper, raw materials, waste and overall resource usage.

 

Our adaptable approach enable us to deliver fit-out solutions while prioritising sustainability. Here’s how we do it. 👇

Creativity is about more than aesthetics

Creativity is about the efficient use of resources as well as appearances. Our designs incorporate sustainable materials from the lighting to the flooring. We can track and measure embodied carbon, which means we can be sure to keep it as low as possible throughout the process. It’s worth noting here that some of the suppliers we use are actually carbon-negative.

We use flexible and adaptable designs, which extend the lifespan of our fit-outs and reduce waste over time. Our solutions are designed and built to last and adapt around your businesses changes, minimising the need for replacements. Furniture contributes 670,000 tonnes of waste in UK landfill annually, we don’t want that!

Waste is a design flaw

The Circular Economy is a production and consumption model involving reusing, repairing, refurbishing, and recycling existing materials and products for as long as possible. This approach contrasts with the traditional linear economy, which follows a “take, make, dispose” model. Don’t get us started on many high street brands that sell products that are unsustainably produced and in need of replacement after a few years because they can’t be repaired. The user finds out they can’t sell, donate, or recycle the product when its short lifespan is over, and this is how we end up with 3 million items of office furniture thrown out each year. (Wrap 2011)

In our process, we ‘design out’ waste. Selecting only durable, repairable, upgradeable, recyclable and reusable suppliers. (Read more about how clever use of furniture can transform your workspace, whilst meeting sustainability standards.)This is what’s known as a Cradle to Cradle design principle.

Well-being, as well as everything else

We adopt the WELL Building Standard throughout our design and delivery model. This is a global rating system that prioritises health and well-being in the built environment. This helps us to make sure we’re creating spaces that are good for the end users’ well-being when they’re at work. This standard focuses on factors like natural light, indoor air quality, and comfortable temperatures. All the ingredients needed for a positive and productive workspace.

It brings us a lot of joy to see people using and loving our spaces.

The future of workspace design

At Formm, sustainability is not a box-ticking exercise, this is something that means a lot to us. Products and spaces shouldn’t be designed to be quickly obsolete. We want you to enjoy your workspace for as long as possible!

If you’re thinking about moving to a new workspace or are in need of a revamp or update — we’re very open to a conversation about how you can make sure that your move fits the rest of your organisation’s high standards.

To help you out, we created this sustainability glossary and guide, which outlines the main terms and jargon used in the building industry!

 

Glossary:

Adaptable Design

An approach that allows workspaces to be easily modified or expanded over time, enhancing longevity and reducing waste.

Biophilic Design

An architectural and interior design concept focused on integrating nature into the built environment to improve health and well-being.

BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method)

A globally recognised standard for assessing, rating, and certifying the sustainability of buildings. BREEAM evaluates energy use, health, pollution, transport, materials, waste, and more.

Carbon Reduction Plan

A strategy outlining an organisation’s commitment to comprehensively reduce and minimise carbon emissions and resource usage.

Circular Economy

A production and consumption model involving reusing, repairing, refurbishing, and recycling existing materials and products for as long as possible, contrasting with the traditional linear “take, make, dispose” model.

Cradle to Cradle Design

A sustainable design philosophy focusing on creating products that can be entirely reused or recycled at the end of their life, minimising waste and environmental impact.

Embodied Carbon

The greenhouse gas emissions associated with the production of a product or material, typically evaluated over a product’s entire lifecycle.

Environmental Management System (EMS)

A structured framework that helps organisations identify, manage, and reduce their environmental impact, often aligned with standards like ISO14001 and BREEAM.

ISO14001

An internationally recognised standard for effective environmental management systems, providing a framework for organisations to manage their environmental responsibilities.

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)

An analysis technique used to evaluate the environmental impacts associated with all stages of a product’s life, from raw material extraction through production, use, and disposal.

Net Zero

A state where the amount of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere is balanced with the amount removed. Achieving Net Zero involves reducing direct emissions (scope 1), indirect emissions from purchased energy (scope 2), and all other indirect emissions (scope 3).

Paris Agreement

A global agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that aims to limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels, with efforts to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees.

Responsible Sourcing

The process of ensuring that products are ethically sourced, and that suppliers follow environmentally and socially responsible practices.

Sustainable Procurement

The process of purchasing goods and services in a way that minimises environmental impact while supporting positive social outcomes.

WELL Building Standard

A global rating system focusing on enhancing people’s health and well-being through the built environment, considering factors like natural light, indoor air quality, and comfortable temperatures.