Climate change is one of the most important environmental issues and concerns facing the modern society. In order to address the causes of climate change, governments around the world have agreed on targets for the reduction of harmful greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. A number of greenhouse gases impact the environment negatively, and the most significant of these is the carbon dioxide. Therefore the GHG emission reduction commitments are expressed in the form of carbon reduction where the term carbon means carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) – a measurement that expresses the environmental effect of GHGs in terms of the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) that would cause the same effect. The effect of a certain business, process, product or service can be evaluated in terms of the GHG emissions it generates and is commonly referred to as a ‘carbon footprint’.
Furniture industry, like many other manufacturing industries, generates carbon emissions. Therefore there is a great scope for the industry to assess and reduce its carbon impact. One of the major stimuli for carrying out this research is the lack of information about carbon footprint of furniture industry as well as the lack of understanding and fragmented approach to carbon footprinting.
The key finding from this study is that the embedded carbon contained within the materials and technological processes used for the manufacture of the furniture products are the highest contributors to the carbon footprint. Thus reducing the materials used in a product, or selecting lower impact (environmental-friendly) materials can considerably reduce the carbon footprint of furniture products.