What's your take on the circular philosophy?
By developing a solution to a problem, we change the market. We show that we can create quality working environments in a sustainable way. Without sacrificing on design, look, and feel. Refurbishment - repairing things - sometimes still has a negative connotation. This needn't be the case at all. Thanks to the knowledge and craftsmanship in our factory, refurbished is equivalent to new.
Circular philosophy plays a role not only in my work. But also at home. I am a father of two young children. Many children's items, I only need for a short time, while their lifespan is often much longer. That's why I exchange items with neighbours and friends and we use Marktplaats a lot.
What is the Circular Hub?
The Circular Hub in Veghel is a workstation where we have brought all our circular expertise and production facilities together into a single space of approximately 12,000 m². Here, we give a second life to used office furniture that Royal Ahrend has purchased from, or had returned by, customers. In this way, we extend the lifespan of furniture and contribute to the circular economy.
Why is the circular economy so important?
Every year, 90%* of unused furniture in Europe ends up in landfill or is incinerated. We want to counter that. We do this by maintaining the condition and lifespan, and therefore the value, of our furniture for as long as possible. In this way we combat waste, prevent raw materials from becoming discarded, and reduce CO2 emissions by up to 90% compared to new furniture. With us you can buy used furniture labeled as Ahrend Revived, with the same quality and the same warranty as new.
* Erasmus+ Circular economy in the furniture industry: Overview of current challenges and competences needs (2017)
What are you most proud of?
Our team created something from nothing in a short time. Two years ago I entered an empty hall in Veghel and we had zero orders. Currently, we have revitalised more than 100,000 pieces of furniture. And we continue to grow. More and more organisations see the necessity of refurbishment. And know where to find us. For example, we recently provided the interior of Lynk Co, a company offering car subscriptions. & A company that – with its sharing philosophy – is typically a good fit for us.
I see myself as an entrepreneur within a large organisation - an exciting combination of commercial and operational work. But what I like most is that my work directly contributes to CO2 reduction.
‘We have now rejuvenated more than 100,000 items of furniture.’
What do you still want to achieve?
To grow! It is time to professionalise, standardise our processes and scale up the Circular Hub. The aim is to be able to offer refurbished furniture on the same – or preferably even larger – scale as new office furniture. So that we can make even more of an impact, including internationally.
In addition, I - together with the team of circular consultants - want to promote our new Circular Advice service to customers. Our circular consultants advise clients on what you can do with existing furniture.