Expressions of Purpose with Emeco

Jessy Miguel
by Jessy Miguel
April 26, 2023


Panel talk moderated by Jaye Buchbinder, Emeco with panelists Gregg Buchbinder, Emeco; Ryan Torres, Vaer; Claire Salinda, Surfrider L.A.; Kathryn Francis, Little Village Films.  

This month, our design team members attended the Purpose Event, hosted at the Emeco House in Venice. Emeco, is an American furniture manufacturer that has been recognized for its sustainability practices by implementing recycled plastic and aluminum in their iconic chairs and furniture pieces – a great example of a company that is committed to environmental stewardship. The panel discussion centered on exploring different expressions of purpose together – how can companies achieve purpose beyond what they produce, what sparked their desire to do something better for our planet, how can we find the balance of sustainability in this industry, and how can we continue to teach and advocate towards this important topic.

In the furniture contract world, manufacturers and designers are emphasizing and implementing sustainable practices and materials into their products all the way through their production facilities. As we continue to educate ourselves, we can advocate and lean towards supporting manufacturers that are eager to offer products that consider materials, longevity, manufacturing processes, and certifications of products. Here are some points on how to advocate for cleaner and healthier contract furniture options:

  1. Consider the materials: Look for furniture made from environmentally friendly materials with recycled or reclaimed content. These materials not only reduce the amount of waste going into the landfills, but they also require less energy to produce.
  2. Consider the manufacturing processes: Ask manufacturers about their production processes and whether they use environmentally friendly methods.
  3. Look for certifications: Look for certifications that demonstrate a commitment to sustainability, such as LEED, Greenguard, or FSC. These certifications ensure that the furniture meets certain standards and is proof of furniture transparency.
  4. Advocate for sustainable options: Work with manufacturers to promote sustainable options for contract furniture. By advocating for environmentally friendly options, we can help drive demand for sustainable products and encourage manufacturers to prioritize sustainability in their designs.


The hard reality is that our carbon footprint is warming up our planet, landfills are overflowing, our oceans are being trashed, the air is continuing to pollute, and our ecosystem is only suffering because of it. In an industry where we are constantly building, remodeling, and manufacturing to provide beautifully designed buildings and spaces, we too contribute to the climate changes Earth faces today from carbon emissions, construction waste, unhealthy building materials, and the minimal use of our local resources and materials. As we celebrate Earth Day, it’s important to remember that our industry has played a significant role in contributing to climate change, however, we can change that through the specification of cleaner and healthier contract furniture options.

Our industry has a critical role to play in reducing carbon emissions and mitigating climate change. Specifying cleaner and healthier furniture options is a start to making a positive impact. By considering material content, finishes, manufacturing processes, and certifications of what we specify, we can promote sustainability and contribute to a healthier future for ourselves future generations.

Tags: Sustainability

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