Office and furniture manufacturers who lower their environmental footprint can achieve cost savings and gain a strong competitive advantage says Allan Smith, Vice President of European Marketing, Research and Development for Steelcase International.
Smith said Steelcase globally has lowered greenhouse gas emissions by 41 per cent since 2000, while sales of their office furniture has increased. In the same period, the company reduced Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) emissions by 95 per cent, landfill waste by 50 per cent and their global energy consumption by 46 per cent.
Smith said: "UAE companies who focus on sustainable practices are responding to growing market opportunities both domestically and globally, creating enhanced product performance and greater competitiveness within their own market and internationally. Companies who stick to outdated design practice will become less competitive over time."
Smith will share his knowledge about lifecycle thinking and illustrate how green design principles can be adopted to achieve cost savings and create a competitive edge at the 'Office Talks' seminar, taking place at The Office Exhibition from 3-5 March in Dubai.
His presentation titled, "Designing for Sustainability and Competitive Advantage: Doing good for business and the environment" will demonstrate how sustainable furniture design is not only good for the environment, but can have a positive impact on a businesses' bottom line.
Smith said: "In today's competitive market creating valuable, meaningful differences in products and services can translate into sustainable, long-term benefits for customers and the environment.
The case for sustainable design is simple: it's better for the environment and spells competitive advantage. This can be achieved through reduction in material, manufacturing and distribution costs.
Other advantages include a healthier office environment, higher quality products and increased consumer loyalty. In addition, by producing a sustainable product you are in turn helping your customers to fulfill their environmental goals."
Smith was named one of the most influential people in business ethics in 2007 by Ethisphere magazine and has 20 years experience in sustainable thought. From 2003-2007, he served as director of Steelcase's company-wide environmental strategy, aligning the company's business and marketing strategies to achieve its environmental goals.
Sinead Bridgett, Exhibition Director at dmg world media said Office Talks, new to The Office Exhibition in 2009, features an extremely high calibre of industry speakers and thought leaders and expects the seminars to be well attended by the event's exhibitors and visitors.
"We have invited some of the industry's top speakers to discuss hot topics such as the latest trends in office design and fit-out, sustainability and workplace productivity."
Joining Smith on the first day of the Office Talks seminar is facilities management expert Mick Dalton from Marafeq FM. Dalton will share his thoughts on 'Facilities Management in Offices - How FM can add value'. Stewart Brown, President of Independent Freight International will examine various innovative approaches to making the most of your company's logistics support system.
The second day of Office Talks will include presentations from Keri Luly, Sustainability Program Manager at Allsteel on the effects of office furnishing on indoor air quality and employee health and Steven Pratt, Regional Manager at InterfaceFLOR who will share a case study on the first LEED Platinum Commercial Interiors project in the world.