The Australian Furniture Association announces four recommendations for sustainable government procurement of furniture.

Furniture accounts for 8.5 million tonnes of office furniture waste annually.

The Australian National Audit Office found that between 1 July 2017 and 30 June 2022, the Australian Government spent over $355 million on furniture.

Imported furniture is difficult to regulate or verify sources or the materials contained within it.

This results in volatility in sustainability, circularity, and waste management goals.
While 90 per cent of office furniture waste could be recycled, almost all of this waste ends up in landfills.
Industrial chemicals, including PFAS also known as ‘forever chemicals’, are found in a wide range of imported furniture and furnishing products across Australia.
These chemicals kill.


The AFA continues to work with the Commonwealth Government around the iChems scheduling to phase out 9 chemicals identified as high risk and common in furniture and furnishings products, and we predict that many of these chemicals will be banned by 2028.
It is estimated that 75% of all furniture purchased by Australian governments is imported.
High levels of hazardous chemicals of concern are unknowingly imported into the country.
Research from the European Federation of Furniture Manufacturers estimates that 80-90% of residential and commercial furniture combined, is directed into European municipal landfill.
The Australian Furniture Association recently launched the Business Case for the implementation of four recommendations for sustainable government procurement of furniture for public spaces used for work and play.
AFA’s research demonstrates that Australia would generate similar percentages of furniture waste. There is a significant opportunity to reduce waste in landfill, minimise chemicals of concern, reduce business and government spend, and increase local employment opportunities.

The AFA’s research found:

  • A lack of clarity or comprehensive resources to support government procurement officers in making informed sustainability decisions.
  • A lack of readily available data on imported waste furniture compared to locally manufactured furniture, and the materials contained in imported non-compliant furniture waste.
  • Increasing instances of complex misinformation and greenwashing made about the sustainable features and benefits of products in the furniture marketplace.
  • A lack of accredited education and training solutions to upskill or train a new workforce to meet the demand for skilled workers in sustainable procurement.

The AFA’s Sustainable Procurement System for Furniture and Fit outs will deliver four major outcomes:

  1. Reduce the procurement of ‘fast furniture’ and its direct contribution to landfill waste to landfill.
  2. Reduce cost of furniture and fit out procurement to the Victorian Government by an estimated $35 million over a 3-year period.
  3. Be industry led and self-funding after four years.
  4. Reduce the cost to commercial furniture businesses tendering for Government contracts by an estimated $115,000 per annum.

The AFA has established the Australian Furnishing Industry Stewardship Council. AFISC to oversee the System.

Listen to the announcement or read more HERE.

The Australian Furniture Association makes 4 recommendations to Government.

They contain a comprehensive set of considerations designed to reduce the amount and impact of furniture waste on Australia’s landfill and ecosystem, support the health and well-being of communities, and provide purchasers with the information and knowledge required to sustainably procure furniture and fit outs.

The AFA’s Business Case recommends the implementation of an Ethical Sourcing Policy supported by an industry led Sustainable Furniture and Fit Out Procurement System to deliver a wide range of benefits across Australia, including government, suppliers, the environment, and the community.

The AFA is seeking assistance to implement the outlined recommendations in order to reduce the impact on furniture waste and pollution into landfill.

The AFA makes four recommendations:

1          A Code of Practice and Accreditation System supported by Policy, and a how-to guide

2          Data Collection using specialised digital data technology to monitor and measure against imperative metrics.

3          Community Engagement and Awareness Campaign to counter misinformation and greenwashing claims. There is a clear need to develop an engagement and awareness campaign to promote, communicate, and educate procurers, buyers, and consumers about sustainable procurement and the unintended consequences of poor procurement.

And finally

4          Accredited Procurement Training Programs to provide the skills and knowledge required for roles in government procurement to address the developing Circular Economy across Victoria.

The benefits and opportunities speak for themselves.

Listen to the announcement or read more HERE

What can you do?

We implore you to support this initiative.

We urge and encourage you to collaborate with us.

We ask that you add to the growing number of industry leaders throwing their weight behind us through formal written endorsement.

We invite you to nominate for AFISC Technical Advisory Committees.

We insist that you reach out to us, to discuss, challenge and consult.

But most of all we ask that you stand with us as we lead, not follow.