The Australian Furniture Association (AFA) received seed funding from the Circular Economy Business Support Fund as part of the Circular Economy Business Innovation Centre (CEBIC) in early 2023.

CEBIC is delivered by Sustainability Victoria on behalf of the Victorian Government.

The project delivers a business case for an ethical sourcing solution and system for Government procurement of furniture and fit outs. The ethical purchase of sustainable furniture will support the diversion of furniture products from landfills whilst bolstering local manufacturing and protecting the community.

The AFA recently launched the Business Case for the implementation of the project recommendations, with the definition of furniture in the context of the project being commercial furniture.

This is furniture procured by the Government to furnish public spaces used for work and play. Offices. Schools. Hospitals. Prisons. Art Galleries. Sports Stadiums. And so on.

It must be durable. It must be compliant. It must be safe. And it must be fit for purpose.

It’s not a bookcase assembled by parents with an allen key for a kindergarten classroom, that is not fixed to a wall and likely to topple and injure or even kill any toddler that tries to climb it.

It’s not a sit stand desk that electrocutes the user when the non-compliant uncertified electronics fail.

It’s not the lounge chair in the Aged Care facility that snaps at the joint causing an elderly resident to break a hip when they fall and subsequently die.

It’s not the thousands of stadium seats that had to be replaced in an unnamed state, because they were unsafe and posed a risk to spectators as they snapped off their footings.

It’s not a rip off version of an internationally designed popular stool used in lunchrooms across the country that have sliced off peoples’ toes.

It’s not the cheap imported mattress used in emergency accommodation that contains faeces, rat droppings, cigarette butts and wood shavings in the filling.

It’s not the bunk beds designed to carry the weight of a small child, being used by adults in workplace accommodation. Trust me when I say that Standards Developers are considering recommending a bonk ban for the top bunk, especially if someone is sleeping in the bottom bunk.

It’s not the furniture that goes up in flames in an office fire that emits PFAS chemicals masked as water repellent and fire-retardant treatments that causes our firefighters to develop blood cancer and die to save us.

It’s not a ‘rip off’ version of the most popular school chair in the country that snaps at the base and injures children in the classroom.

The original version of this chair is designed and produced by a local manufacturer that employs over 100 Australians. The chair exceeds all Australian Standards. Has attained multiple compliance certifications at significant cost to the business that continuously thrives to improve.

It’s not the imported timber desk made from illegally logged timber, that has originated in the conflict zone of Russia, travelled through to China, to greenwash, then make its way to Australia as a cheap alternative to a beautiful product that could have been made in Australia with legal local timber.

It’s not the so called imported ‘leather’ sofa in the hospital waiting area that has been fumigated as per Australia’s Bio Security Laws but contains chemicals that react with Cancer Treatments causing cancer patients to become seriously ill.

The AFA consulted, and continues to consult, with stakeholders across the supply chain, including local and state governments, purchasers, manufacturers, suppliers, enablers, and other allied industry stakeholders.

SO WHAT ARE THE FINDINGS? Listen to the announcement HERE