It is in our DNA to work with environmental issues

Jonas Ihreborn
CEO at Jonas Ihreborn AB

It is in our DNA to work with environmental issues

2021-06-18. Jonas Ihreborn AB is a Swedish furniture company with its own production in Värnamo, Småland. The company is run by Jonas Ihreborn – third generation furniture manufacturer – and produces timeless furniture with a long duration for a sustainable future. Since 2020, the company is part of STEPS.

– Ever since I was young, I have been interested in environmental issues. In the 70’s when I was growing up it was very dirty and polluted which made me want to contribute and make a difference. Being part of STEPS is part of this.

Jonas Ihreborn says that sustainability for him and his company is about making a change in all areas where possible.

– We use locally produced materials where possible, try to reduce our transports and work actively not to use unnecessary materials. In addition to this, we want to work to change the way we produce and utilize the world’s resources in the future.

Social sustainability is also important for Jonas Ihreborn – to work to ensure that those who deliver and produce materials have good work conditions.

–  Everything you do has an impact and we work to make the impact as positive as possible. For example, we create furniture with a long service life and a form that is aesthetically pleasing over time so that we can defend the use of materials and the emissions that the production gives rise to.

Jonas Ihreborn believes that we as a society must reduce mass consumption and instead focus on buying furniture or products that last longer and are produced under fair conditions.

– A sofa that costs 5000 SEK is too cheap. Furniture cannot be seen as a fashion that is replaced every year. We must change our way of thinking and become willing to pay more and also become better at demanding more from those who manufacture the furniture as it is a waste of the earth’s resources to produce the large volumes that are made today.

Replace foam with bio-based alternatives
One reason why Jonas Ihreborn is part of STEPS is that he wants to investigate the possibility of replacing the plastic foam made of fossil-based polyol, which is used in the furniture with bio-based alternatives. The elasticity of the foam is important for the feeling, comfort and for the quality of the furniture.

– We do not manufacture our own material, so in this way we are dependent on what the market offers. If I can show that the issue is important to us and contribute with thoughts about what we as a furniture company need, I think it can make a difference in terms of making the use of plastic more sustainable.

Today, foam plastic is created from oil. If the surplus of raw materials does not come from oil, because we are moving away from fossil energy, it will not be a good deal to produce foam plastic in the current way. The change will create new ways of producing products, believes Jonas Ihreborn.

– Although we of course want to be able to replace the oil-based foam plastic, it is even more important to push for change. In the future, I want all the material we use, whether it is plastic or not, to be recyclable. The materials must also be more efficient so that we use smaller volumes.The major enabler for this change is the availability of green energy.

Jonas Ihreborn points out that sustainable design is about just this; to create a sustainable chain from the time you grasp the pen, how you produce the product and use materials, until the product is discarded.

– Today, many people have a skewed view of design, they confuse the concept with design. In my world, all products should be climate smart and reusable.

He talks about two of his most popular chairs; Seventy and Seventyfive. The chairs have become real classics, and consist of a metal frame that can easily be unscrewed and recycled.

– It is not always the case that you have to invent new materials. A lot is about thinking smart, long-term and resource-efficient to develop environmentally friendly products.