17.–23.01.2022 #immcologne

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Practising sustainability

Growing demand for vegan furniture

Switching to tofu and oat milk instead of meat and dairy: More and more people are eating a purely plant-based diet – and adopting a vegan lifestyle in other spheres of life, too. Leather sofas, silk curtains and sheepskin rugs are taboo in vegan homes.

But as with food, there are already many sustainable alternatives to furniture made from animal-derived components. Find out what they are and where you can buy vegan furniture in our article.

allnatura’s vegan bathroom furniture

allnatura’s vegan bathroom furniture is eco-friendly and manufactured without animal products. Photo: allnatura

What makes an item of furniture vegan

Supermarkets and clothes stores are not the only places where you will find products of animal origin. Leather, silk, horsehair, wool, sheepskin, fur, down, beeswax and shells are used in the interior design industry. But less visible materials such as glues and adhesives can also contain animal-derived components. Since producing these raw materials often involves animal suffering, alternatives are used to make vegan furniture and accessories.

These materials can be artificially produced or come from sustainable natural sources. For example, faux leather for vegan sofas is manufactured from woven textile with a PVC coating. Ahimsa silk, also known as peace silk, is a cruelty-free alternative to silk. It can be made from eucalyptus, agave or soy fibres.

The following materials can be used in vegan furniture and home decor.

For furniture:

  • Natural wood
  • Cork
  • Metal
  • Bamboo
  • Plastic

For coverings:

  • Cotton
  • Linen
  • Vegan leather (e.g. imitation leather made from polyester and polyurethane or from natural raw materials such as cork, pineapple leaves or mushroom fibres)

For upholstery and fillings:

  • Kapok
  • Rubber
  • Foam
  • Spunbond fabric

For textiles such as carpets and curtains:

  • Vegan silk
  • Jute
  • Sisal
  • Viscose
  • Polyester

Quality seals and labelling for vegan furniture

From large furniture showrooms to young start-ups, vegan furniture can now be found in almost every furniture store. Unlike customer information labels in the food sector, however, vegan labelling is not yet well established in the furniture industry. You can take a look at the textile care label to find out which materials the sofa covering or a pair of curtains were made from. Genuine leather products are always labelled with the leathermark. If you cannot see this symbol, the product is probably made from vegan leather.

It gets more difficult with materials like gelatine-based glue. There are no labelling requirements in such cases. If you want to be absolutely sure, you can look specifically for vegan furniture. German furniture retailer Möbel Höffner, for instance, has launched the switch product line , which has a whole selection of vegan sofas, armchairs and chaise lounges bearing the PETA-approved vegan label. Many other large furniture retailers also stock specially labelled vegan products.

The vegan upholstered furniture in the Höffner

The upholstered furniture in the Höffner switch series, such as the Ivan corner sofa, is 100% vegan.

Suppliers of sustainable and vegan furniture

Here are some more companies that have specialised in sustainable or vegan furniture:

  • yourhome: This is the place to find vegan divan beds, solid-wood beds and bedside tables that are completely free of animal products, right down to the adhesive.
  • ROOM IN A BOX: Founded in 2013, the company has turned upcycling into a business model and produces modular furniture made from recycled cardboard and vegan starch glue.
  • ekomia: The Berlin company manufactures furniture exclusively from FSC-certified wood from EU forests. Formaldehyde-free PVA glue and environmentally friendly vegan paints and oils of natural origin are used in the processing.
  • allnatura: For vegan bathrooms, the specialist retailer for natural furniture and home accessories offers a large selection of vegan furniture that is produced without beeswax, animal glue or varnishes made from animal-derived components
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Sustainability: an enduring trend

Awareness of sustainable production that conserves natural resources and avoids animal suffering is growing constantly. More and more people are looking specifically for sustainable furniture and demanding transparency on the manufacturing process and the materials used. For companies, this represents a significant opportunity to make their production more sustainable and develop new target groups.