Gispen and Pfleiderer are closing the loop
Gispen Netherlands and Pfleiderer have joined forces in order to make the flow of wood and wood products – such as tabletops – fully circular. Gispen is the first in its sector to be working with Pfleiderer’s circular wood. Michel Kierpensteijn from Gispen and Bas van Meurs from Pfleiderer will give you a look behind the scenes of this circular initiative.
Michel Kierpensteijn is a strategic Supply Chain procurement officer at Gispen. ‘Circular entrepreneurship has been our mission for years now: manufacturing furniture in the most responsible way possible, encouraging sustainable use and reusing or recycling materials after use. Pfleiderer shares this philosophy. They are specialists in the production of sustainable wood materials, including chipboard. To Gispen, chipboard is a raw material used for products such as tabletops. Our partnership has intensified over the course of five years, and it is safe to say that we have recently reached a true milestone: realising a fully closed-loop lumber supply chain. We have done so in close collaboration with our suppliers which include Altis, MultiDesk and HDF Recycling.’
How does this work in practice?
The lumber supply chain is closed in four steps:
1. Pfleiderer produces 100% circular, melamine-lined chipboard base panels and supplies these to Altis and MultiDesk, among others. These vendors then turn these panels into custom-made tabletops and supply them to Gispen.
2. Gispen uses these tabletops in the production of workstations: desks, conference tables, student desks and teacher’s desks, in various product lines. These products are supplied to clients within the government, business, healthcare and education.
3. There is a return flow of furniture originating from Gispen’s clients. Tabletops that are old and not eligible for reuse are collected and sorted on our site, together with all of our scrap wood.
4. This return timber is sent to HDF Recycling; they conduct further sorting, shred the material and supply the material (in fibres) back to Pfleiderer in Germany. Pfleiderer then use it as a recycled post-consumer resource for the production of new chipboard base panels – fully closing the lumber supply chain.
100% circular sheet material
Bas van Meurs, account manager at Pfleiderer: ‘Together with Gispen, we have created the perfect recycling loop. At Pfleiderer, we only use scrap wood for manufacturing melamine chipboard; we procure residual flows of wood. These are procured from companies such as HDF Recycling, to whom Gispen offers return timber. Truly closing the loop!’
‘The melamine-lined chipboard that we manufacture – so-called DecoBoard – is 100% circular. The chipboards fully consist of scrap wood: 50% of the wood is derived from partners such as Gispen. Another 35% comes from sawmills (wood shavings) and the remaining 15% is industrial wood. The latter may be waste from newly felled timber, for example, or waste timber from treetops and roots that would otherwise be burnt. It goes without saying that we are proud of the various awards that we have received for our chipboard. Even finer is the fact that Gispen and Pfleiderer strengthen each other now by conducting business together in a circular manner.’
How does such a partnership come about?
Gispen’s new, circular and modular desk collection CIMO was one of the reasons for this partnership. Michel: ’When we were developing this product line, we were also in need of a new collection of standard designs; wood prints and solid colours for the tabletops. Pfleiderer clearly stood out, and not only because of their well-designed tabletops and good value for money, but also because of their corporate philosophy. In addition to tabletops, we are now even applying Pfleiderer designs to wooden standing tables and interior components such as lockers. This even closer collaboration has been great.’
Bas: ‘HDF Recycling was already one of our trusted partners. Together with Gispen’s suppliers and HDF, we have now standardised the entire wood processing chain. We can rely on one another and we all have our own roles within the wood chain.’
Photograph: CIMO circular modular furniture collection
Michel continues: ‘We couldn’t have realised this on our own, of course. At Gispen, Ben Wammes, KAM Manager (Quality, Health & Safety, Environment) and Sander Birkhoff, Manager Operations & Supply Chain, have been closely involved in the process. I’m one of six strategic Supply Chain procurement officers at Gispen. Thinking and working in circular terms is always teamwork, which takes place amongst ourselves here in Culemborg as well as with external partners. The more fun it is to celebrate new successes together!’