Our Planet

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We still make things, therefore our priority as a manufacturer is to minimize the environmental impact of our activities.


Our efforts to reduce our environmental impact are guided by our Foundation Programs. We have carefully selected these programs based on our ability to use them as tools to raise the bar for our industry and ourselves. They also drive transparency and accountability through the use of third-party auditing and reporting. Most importantly, we are able to use these programs to challenge our thinking and broaden our understanding and perspective. By doing this, we often go further.

 


 

minimizing our footprint: Foundation Programs

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Divert


Teknion’s Divert program is a turnkey service that provides the people and expertise to help our customers divert their decommissioned furniture from landfi ll by providing them with the option to sell, donate, and/or recycle that furniture.

To date we have:


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ISO 14001


Five of our facilities in Quebec and one in Calgary were the first manufacturing sites in Canada to be certified by CGSB to the latest ISO environmental and quality management system standards.

From 2010 to 2018, we have saved:


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Design For Environment (DfE)


Eleven guidelines are continually reviewed to see if improvements can be made to forward sustainability throughout the process.

VOC (Volatile organic compounds)

  • 100% of products certified to a low-emitting standard

BIFMA LEVEL®, LEED, WELL

  • 100% of products are aligned to a holistic furniture standard

 

Teknion Bene Box:
Our multi-functional modular wood furnishing system is made from pine plywood and does not use finishes, eliminating potential VOCs and chemicals of concern commonly found in finished wood products.

 

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First Manufacturer in Canada:
Certified ISO 9001: 2015
& ISO 14001: 2015


from 2010 to 2018, we saved:

  • 20,550,000 kwh of electricity, enough to power 2,055 homes for a year.
  • 2,450,000m2 (86,520,933 cu. ft.) of natural gas, enough to heat 1,290 homes for a year.
  • 127,326 L (33,636 gal) of propane, enough to heat 27 homes for a year.
  • 231,592 m2 (8,178,594 cu. ft.) of water, enough to fill 92 Olympic-sized pools.
  • 90% waste diversion since 2010.
  • 36,167 tonnes (39,867 tons) of GHG, The equivalent of removing 7,230 cars from the road for a year.

 


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OTHER INITIATIVES

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Reducing
Textile Waste


Fabric Recycling program

A third-party company picks up our scrap textiles for recycling into rags. The program has been so successful that the scrap is now picked up for free.

 

Earth Day


Teknion installed two hives, each containing 50,000 – 70,000 bees, which have have produced over 200 jars of honey this season.

 

Pallet Recovery
Initiative


An innovative colour-coding system that ensures pallets picked up from the customer are returned to the correct Teknion facility for re-use, keeping them out of landfill.

 

Reducing Packaging


Our facilities bundle their cardboard and plastic production/packaging waste, to reduce freight space and provide more opportunities to responsibly recycle waste.

 

 

 

Reducing Our
Manufacturing Footprint


Our Quebec manufacturing facilities uses only renewable energy (hydro power). Elimination of one paint line at Fileco created the following savings with no decrease in capacity:

 

 

Relieving pressure
on the electrical grid


The Demand Response Group is a joint effort between our production and facilities groups to review and reduce electric load on the grid during peak times, including turning off HVAC systems, adjusting production schedules, reducing lighting and other energy-saving strategies.

620,000 kwh per year

of electricity saved through retrofits of next-generation LED lamp technology.

85% reduction

in energy consumption through upgrades of our computers to more energy efficient models. That is 49,200 kwh per year of electricity saved for every 200 computers.





 

 

 

REDUCING CARBON

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Minimizing our Footprint

Our largest impact on climate change is the generation of carbon. As such, the best way to reduce our footprint is not to offset, but rather to avoid creating carbon where possible. Initiatives including our ISO 14001 efforts to improve our manufacturing efficiency and our Divert landfill diversion program for furniture help us make progress towards reducing our carbon footprint. Tracking our efforts through these programs and other third-party reporting systems such as the Carbon Disclosure Project provides further accountability and transparency.

carbon disclosure project (CDP)

CDP is an independent, not-for-profit organization that aims to lessen greenhouse gas emissions. Teknion engages CDP to provide third-party reporting that measures and discloses our accountability and transparency, and manages and shares environmental information to further our accountability and transparency.

 

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Sharing Knowledge to Disrupt Thinking

THE PATH TOWARDS SUSTAINABILITY REQUIRES COLLABORATION – IT’S NOT SOMETHING ONE COMPANY CAN DO ALONE.

Strong relationships with our suppliers foster open dialogue. They also support the sharing of knowledge to further transparency and the reduction of our collective footprint.

That’s why Teknion’s collaboration with Sherwin-Williams has been so successful. As we push ourselves to reduce chemicals of concern, we are sharing with Sherwin-Williams information about the TOXNOT database for chemical transparency, management and assessment as well as the requirements for DECLARE and other certifications. In return, Sherwin-Williams is helping us become more efficient in how we apply paint on our products. At the end of the day, using less paint is the best way to reduce our impact.

Not only does this collaboration enable better results, it also helps to improve our processes and drives a focus on sustainable practices. A perfect example of this iterative process is Teknion and SherwinWilliams collaboration to improve the application of a high-volume color, Storm White. In observing how the paint was applied by our technicians, we realized there was an opportunity to use less paint per application as it seemed to be laying on thicker than needed. Consequently, it left a less than perfect finish. Working together, we undertook a detailed investigation of all the steps in both our processes. By making small changes to our equipment and training, and Sherwin-Williams refining their formulation, we were able to increase the transfer efficiency of the paint to improve first pass application. This reduced how much paint we use, and delivered a better, smoother, finished product.

Our collaboration also led to the creation of regular audits across Teknion paint facilities with Sherwin-Williams. During these audits, Sherwin-Williams provides insights on how to refine our processes to improve efficiency without compromising quality. We also have opportunities to provide feedback on the paint to Sherwin-Williams supporting any formulation refinements to enhance product performance. Concludes Sandro Volpini, Technical Service Representative at Sherwin-Williams, “Together, we are always asking – how can we do better, what’s next? It’s a challenging process, but ultimately rewarding because it makes both of us better, more accountable and more sustainable.”

 

CREATING A BUZZ FOR OUR PLANET

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Pollinating our Urban Industrial Hub

ONE THIRD OF OUR GLOBAL FOOD SUPPLY IS POLLINATED BY BEES. SIMPLY PUT, BEES KEEP PLANTS AND CROPS ALIVE.

Without bees, humans would not have enough to eat. So, if bees do not thrive, people will not thrive. In keeping with our theme of Endangered Species for our annual Earth Day celebration, we made making a place for bees our primary challenge. Unlike other initiatives where beehives are placed in more rural settings, we integrated two hives into the heart of our manufacturing hub in Toronto, a strictly industrial zone.

Doug Hietkamp, Director of Sustainability and resident beekeeper for Teknion, explains “For me, one of the best things about keeping these hives is the insight one gains into the connection of humans to nature and the big impact such a seemingly small act can have on our environment.” Bees travel up to 5km to scout and collect nectar, pollen, water and propolis to support the hive and flowering plants in the community dependent on insect pollination. Even though the hives are on Teknion property and located within an industrial area, they are expected to harvest 200 jars of honey from the hives each year.

 

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Giving the Hook to Overheated Plants

MINIMIZING OUR FOOTPRINT AND TRANSFORMING OUR FACILITIES TO BECOME CLIMATE RESILIENT

As average temperatures across the planet continue to rise it’s critical that companies respond to climate change with climate resilience strategies. The paint line ovens at our metal storage facility produce heat that dissipates into the factory, specifically where our workers assemble products. As a result, the heat from the ovens, combined with generally warmer days, contributed to a warmer than ideal working environment for our employees and a potential threat to their well-being. In response to this new reality, we realized that we needed to reduce heat overall and find more efficient ways of doing things.

Eliminating a paint line was the logical step to take in order to reduce the total heat in the factory. Explains Shargina Shanthirasegaram, Manufacturing Engineering Specialist at Fileco, “While it was easy to eliminate a paint line, the challenge was to maintain the same capacity we had when there were two paint lines.” Examining the hooks that hold the parts as they go down the line, Shargina saw an opportunity. She designed a custom hook that could hold more furniture fronts, drawers and cases than the original hooks. She adds, “With this simple change, we were able to fit more products on a single line.” Once the hooks were changed, the speed of the line was slowed down, ensuring the increased density could still be handled using the existing manpower from both lines.

Concludes Irwin Mungal, Plant Manager, Fileco, “It’s been a real win-win for our employees, our company and our planet.” Not only have these small but ingenuous changes made our facility a more comfortable place to work, it has also reduced our footprint, saving us over 750,000kwh of electricity and 500,000m3 of natural gas per year.

 

“It’s been a real win-win for our employees, our company and our planet.”

-Shargina Shanthirasegaram, Manufacturing Engineering Specialist at Fileco

 

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Extending Product Life

FINDING RESPONSIBLE END-OF-LIFE STRATEGIES EXTENDS THROUGH OUR DEALER NETWORK

Our commitment to finding responsible end-of-life strategies extends through our dealer network. Groupe Focus is located in Montreal, Canada. It is one of Teknion’s leading Dealer Partners, and is leading the charge in its commitment to extending the life of decommissioned furniture. Three years ago, Groupe Focus launched its Premium Used Furniture Program. The program arose out of several client projects that required Groupe Focus to take back their existing furniture as part of the agreement for providing new furniture.

Where others may have seen waste, Groupe Focus saw opportunity. They noticed as they removed furniture from clients that much of it was still usable and relevant. With so much life left in the product, they didn’t just want to dispose of it. This led to the beginnings of the Premium Used Furniture Program. Renting space to hold the decommissioned furniture, Groupe Focus started a campaign to promote and sell whatever they had. Their approach was to let potential clients know that, “We sell great work environments and great furniture that has maintained its value.” As a result of their campaign, Groupe Focus was able to sell 18 tractor trailers full of used furniture in about six months. Explains Stephane Lemieux, Partner, Groupe Focus, “This success demonstrated that not only was there a need to responsibly decommission furniture, there was also a demand for the furniture.” Adds Anthony Simon, Partner, “It’s not about selling ‘used’ furniture to budget clients, it’s about providing our clients the same level of service and attention whether the furniture is new or used, at every step including installation and delivery.” Heading into the third year of the program Groupe Focus has brought back and sold close to 3,000 workstations.

In addition to the Premium Used Furniture Program, Groupe Focus has also introduced an eco-fee on all new projects. The eco-fee covers recycling efforts for all packaging, guaranteeing items such as cardboard waste get bundled and taken back to recycling facilities instead of landfill. This has enabled Groupe Focus to recycle 108 tonnes of cardboard, 4 tonnes of plastic, 49 tonnes of metal and 100 tonnes of wood to date. Stephane explains, “Now, more than ever, we cannot shirk our commitment to the planet. We remain committed to reducing our environmental footprint and not surprisingly, our customers are happy with that. They are ready to take this step with us.”

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Life Cycle Management:
Extending the life of our furniture


Teknion is providing the people, skills and services to ensure maximum financial and social benefit with minimum environmental impact for our customers’ decommissioned furniture.

Over the past year, our end-of-life efforts have:


Diverted - 683 tonnes (752 tons) of furniture from landfill through donation, recycling and reuse.

Donated - 4,252 decommissioned furniture items, supporting 71 charities.

Recovered - 207.7 tonnes (229 tons) of metal through recycling of decommissioned furniture – enough to make 40,650 Projek chairs.

RBC + Teknion:
Winners of the prestigious CoreNet REmmy award in the Corporate Citizen category for extending the life of our furniture

 

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