Our raw materials
Wood, a renewable resource, is exclusively procured by brühl from certified sustainable sources (FSC), and from local cultivation whenever possible.
The skilful workmanship that goes into our choice saddler-grade leather covers ensures they last in value. Carefully selected suppliers use salt-free water-friendly preservation methods. In cooperation with sustainable-minded manufacturers, we are always on the lookout for even more environmentally-friendly solutions when it comes to textiles, too. A current example is the use of bamboo, a fast-growing raw material that requires neither insecticide nor pesticide in cultivation. Bamboo fibres are exceptionally kind to the skin as well as extremely hardwearing. Owing to the very high quality and durability of the various materials used, our seating objects are resilient and have a long life.
All manufacturing processes are designed with the environment in mind, using durable, ecologically compatible materials and recycling any rests. In this way, for instance, leftover pieces of leather, already reduced to a minimum, are used in the manufacture of shoes, gloves and purses.
The idea of personal responsibility, already well developed amongst our workforce, is consciously encouraged and cultivated. This is apparent in the integrated production operations carried out at aesthetically functional workstations, and is the reason so much quality workmanship is evident in our seating furniture. Materials that pose even the slightest hazard to health are constantly used less and less and are entirely substituted whenever possible. In this way, the levels of harmful substances to which those who work in the spray booth on our gluing machine are exposed have been able to be continuously brought down. Today, these levels are at less than 1% of the statutory limit and are thus virtually undetectable.
More than 26 national and international design prizes prove how we successfully break new ground and set trends with clearly defined concepts and clear-cut lines. Right from the moment the idea is conceived and the development work is embarked upon we base everything on the notion of a comprehensive lifecycle for our seating furniture.
Substitutability is ever our guiding principle. Wherever possible, we intend reducing our use of materials that are not yet optimum. This goes for our products as well as for the further optimisation of our workstations.
In line with our philosophy, our intention is to provide the consumer with responsibly manufactured luxury items with a good price/performance ratio. In so doing, we provide creative custom solutions that are innovative and contemporary but not irresponsible. The respect with which we treat both man and nature is what enables our customers to simply lie back on our sofas and relax with good conscience, carefree.
The use of harmless, high-quality materials in the manufacture of our seating furniture ensures that perfect climatic conditions prevail in the room when they are used. At the same time, the simple and safe manner in which our products function brings the user a great many direct benefits.
We deliver our seating objects with our own lorries. In this endeavour, the priority is on logistical planning, on loading the lorries in the best possible way in order to reduce unnecessary journeys. The fleet was completely changed over to Euro5 lorries in 2002. In combination with yearly driver training courses, this brought a more than 25% reduction in fuel consumption and associated transport-related CO2 emissions.
Our authorised trading partners are kept constantly abreast of our endeavours towards sustainability and have standing invitations to see for themselves our innovative production plant as well as the unique display facility in the centre of Bad Steben.
Exclusive quality in terms of both materials and workmanship means our seating objects have almost unlimited life. Our removable high-tech covers are extremely hardwearing and an extensive range of replacement covers ensures the customer can refashion his or her particular ambience at any time, without having to lose the discreet, timeless basic design already in place. In this way, for instance, we are particularly pleased to be able to meet the weekly requests for replaceable covers for the popular “Carousel” couch – a model we introduced more than 15 years ago!
If, despite the outstanding durability of our seating furniture, your item should ever have to be disposed of, this is achieved at very little cost to the ecology thanks to the environmentally-friendly raw materials and recyclable components used. The responsible way in which we regard the lifecycle concept culminates in our “mosspink” and plupp_ap – green living models. These models ideally demonstrate the positive synergies obtained from environmentally suitable, high-quality and innovative style.
Accepting responsibility for man and his environment
“Our intention is to develop sustainable products that spontaneously appeal to the customer’s desire for specific individuality. Every piece of furniture must make sense.”
Roland Meyer-Brühl, Geschäftsführer
The challenge of sustainability
Today’s lifestyles are varied and hybrid, individual-specific living habits and moods change with a dynamism hitherto unknown. Timeless intelligent consumer goods ought therefore to have emotional appeal and ought to be as simple and flexible as can be. They must also be developed based on a fixed set of entrepreneurial values, providing the consumer with bearings and security. Responsibility for man and his environment that runs from generation to generation has to be the priority. In short: sustainability.
„Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.“
Brundtland Report (1987)
This definition, worked out by the UN’s World Commission on Environment and Development under the chairmanship of Norwegian Gro Harlem Brundtland, still defines our understanding of the concept of sustainable development, worldwide. The report, in which the commission calls for more attention to be given to the depletion of natural resources, to environmental protection and to inter-generational and intra-generational aspects of social justice when striving for economic development, is also the basis of the UN’s Agenda 21, adopted five years later in Rio de Janeiro.
Environmental-friendliness as opportunity
The concept of sustainability is traditional at brühl. All manufacturing processes are designed with the environment in mind, using durable, ecologically compatible materials and recycling any rests. This holistic mindset, which has ecological and social responsibility at its heart, throughout the entire lifecycle of a product, has been championed by brühl for the past 20 years. We realised that the throwaway society was not something we could any longer afford, so we opted for a combination of comfort and durability. If you double the life of a product, you automatically cut by half the waste associated with it, for instance. Our environmental commitment earned us the Bavarian Environment Medal for special contributions towards environmental protection and regional development in 2002. In the autumn of 2009, brühl also became the first German seating furniture manufacturer entitled to use the “Blue Angel” label as proof of particular environmental-friendliness.
Our tradition of giving systematic consideration to social issues began at the start of the eighties. Innovative process engineering measures made it possible for us to drastically reduce the levels of harmful substances to which those who work in the spray booth on our gluing machine are subjected. Today, these levels are at less than 1% of the statutory limit and are thus virtually undetectable. Over and above technical measures, our employees make a major contribution towards the aesthetically functional design of workstations throughout the entire plant. This means they work in well lit, ergonomically optimised conditions. Integrated production operations help foster the notion of personal responsibility that in turn engenders quality – Made in Germany.
Creating value through impressive variety
As a premium manufacturer, we always strive to combine pleasure and enthusiasm with responsible behaviour. Consistent concentration on the individual produces a culture of variety that makes brühl stand out from other successful high-end German brands. Unambiguous concepts and clean-cut lines produce modern, surprising creations with appealing characters of their own. The extensive ranges reflect their own diversity. Be it mosspink, plupp–ap., roro, ladybug or sunrise, each of the more than 30 models presents its own particular solution to dynamically changing lifestyle patterns. The colourful or discrete and mostly washable replaceable covers available for many a basic model, for instance, allow the customer to adopt a new image, anytime. Unique solutions such as these not only provide the customer with definite plusses, they also stand out in terms of environmental- friendliness by virtue of the way they avoid waste and save on resources. We see our task as that of precisely observing people’s particular personal living habits. It is the broad diversity of these that spurs us on to create ever new models and versions. So that you can do as you wish with your time – with enjoyment, ease and aestheticism.
“Sustainability can neither be decreed nor banned. A sustainable society can only come into being when it senses a desire for sustainability. Branded products like brühl seating objects arouse fantasy and joie de vivre. With durable materials, variable uses and timeless design, they embody contemporary sustainability”.
Walter R. Stahel, Institut für Produktdauer-Forschung, Geneva.
Sustainable development and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
Sustainable development was raised to the status of a political paradigm by the United Nations at the start of the nineteen-nineties. In realisation that natural resources are not available in limitless quantities and that increasing quantities of waste and emissions irrevocably lead to irreversible damage to the ecosystem, more than 170 states signed Agenda 21, in favour of sustainable development. This action programme demands that enterprises in the industrialised countries make their production operations more environmentally-friendly and run themselves in a more responsible manner. The EU’s sustainability strategy pulls in the same direction. It is also proposing a concept entitled Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), intended to support companies at strategic level as well as at operational level when accepting corporate responsibility as regards both the ecology and social matters. This is essentially about creating value in three dimensions, i.e. economic, environmental and social. The German sustainability strategy also applies CSR and requires companies to clearly associate the sustainability concept with their own business activities and to proactively seize the opportunities this affords.
Sustainability in the furniture sector
In commercial practice, sustainability has hardly yet arrived, as numerous empirical studies show. The subject of social sustainability is still in its infancy. Whilst energy-intensive sectors have a grasp of the necessity of orienting themselves towards sustainability and of the opportunities associated with so doing, and have for some years taken the plunge, such strategies are still the exception in the furniture sector. Rising raw material and energy costs and comparatively high domestic wage levels have all limited the options of companies in terms of developing strategies that are environmentally friendly and that at the same time preserve jobs. Over the past twelve years, the number of jobs in the sector has fallen from around 160,000 to less than 100,000. The pressure companies are experiencing is not solely due to aggressive competition from the Far East and to consolidation processes underway in both the industry and the trade. In the face of unavoidable price increases, consumers, too, are creating pressure with ever more vehement demands for environmentally-friendly and sustainable products. In so doing, the concept of fair play within our own value-adding chain as well as vis-à-vis competitors is becoming ever more important. Consumers are increasingly demanding more transparency. Whilst, over past years, consumers were not yet prepared to spend more money on furniture that comes with added ecological and social benefits, according to surveys, consumer willingness to pay more for sustainable products has slightly risen over past years. The next few years will tell to what extent this willingness manifests itself at the Point of Sale.
Dr. Christian Geßner / Axel Kölle, Universität Witten / Herdecke