Oxfordshire furniture maker hosts community sustainability event

Oxfordshire based furniture manufacturer Rhubarb Seating Ltd opened its doors to the local community to host a Sustainability Event on 19th & 20th January.

Rhubarb signed up for Thame COP as soon as it was launched in 2021. Rhubarb was already committed to reducing their environmental impact in an effort to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss and the establishment of the local initiative to mirror the global COP climate summit was an initiative which the company fully embraced.

After making a pledge to reduce wood waste from their manufacturing processes, the company is delighted with what they have achieved. David Matthews, Managing Director commented: “Our wood waste is now less than a quarter of what it was two years ago, meaning we have succeeded in reducing it by over 75%. This was largely achieved by maximising the use of each board – reviewing our design and nesting of the components to be cut to ensure optimum use of timber and investment in software that creates a direct link from the wood CNC machine and our design team’s computer.”

Having delivered on their pledge and after implementing several sustainability initiatives to reduce energy consumption and wastage, such as relocating staff to a single floor of the office building, recycling packaging materials, installing electric vehicle charging points and consolidating deliveries, Rhubarb has taken a holistic review of their operations and engaged with a Carbon Reduction Pilot organisation to start their journey to net zero and ISO 14064 and PAS 2060 accreditation.

CNC machine cutting nesting components on a timber board

To incentivise and support other local businesses to achieve their environmental and sustainability objectives Rhubarb Seating organized a two-day open event in collaboration with 21st Century Thame, a partnership between local volunteers and town and district councils to support community projects and sustainability initiatives. The event welcomed the community to tour the manufacturing facilities and learn more about Rhubarb’s activities to reduce their environmental impact.

Caoilfhionn Nic Conmara, member of 21st Century Thame commented: “The Open Days at Rhubarb Seating were exactly what Sue Martin-Downhill and I needed to be a part of. David’s tour took us on their one-year journey and showed us what can be achieved in such a short time. As a team we were inspired and it confirmed the need to encourage businesses to share their achievements and aspirations publicly as it will inspire other businesses and individuals to make change too.”

Commenting on the success of the event, David Matthews added: “We were impressed by the turnout and encouraged that other local businesses are interested in our journey. Feedback was very positive and we hope this has motivated other organisations to review their ‘green’ agenda. We are always exploring new and innovative ways to make our products and processes more sustainable and work with our trusted supply chain to stay ahead of the curve when recycled and low environmental impact materials and fabrics come to market. We would also encourage all businesses, schools, hospitals, etc to buy British, and preferably local products and services, and join us in making a difference.”

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