Social responsibility in public procurement related to High-Risk Products.
The Supply Chain
The furniture industry includes a wide range of products, materials and manufacturing processes. Furniture can be made of everything from plastics and leather to metal, glass or wood, resulting in value-chains and working conditions varying greatly depending on the specific sector.
The supply chain can for example consist of producers, semi-finishing producers, finished product producers, transporters, exporters and retailers.
Basically the industry can be grouped into three categories: upholstered furniture, case goods (wood) and others. In many cases the furniture industry is labor-intensive, demanding a lot of manual work.
There are many countries involved in the furniture industry. However, the top manufacturing countries include China, Germany, Italy, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam. Countries importing most furniture are USA, France, Great Britain and Japan among others.
Even though the industry to a large extent consists of micro enterprises the 50 biggest furniture companies in the world together make 40% of industry profits. Among the largest furniture companies are IKEA, Rooms to Go and Ashley Furniture.
Risks for Adverse Impacts
Many of the adverse impacts in the furniture industry occur in developing countries where most manufacturing takes place. In many parts of the production phase, Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) are common. These injuries can be gained through awkward working positions and postures, heavy lifting and repetitive tasks. Inadequate lighting and high levels of noise are also common risks.
More specifically, within the wooden furniture industry, exposure to wood dust is common and can lead to a number of health-implications such as nasal cancer, dermatitis (inflammation of the skin), and respiratory problems. Protective equipment can diminish these risks, but is however not often provided in the smaller wood workshops in emerging economies.
Due to the use of chemicals and pesticides within some parts of the production, some workers are also exposed to a risk of damage to the nervous system.
The competitive nature of the industry and power imbalances between small-scale manufacturers, subcontracted by larger companies, often leads to low bargaining power for decent salary levels. No payment for overtime work is common place in the industry.
Industry and Sector Initiatives
Furniture Industry Research Association (FIRA)
FIRA is a non-profit association promoting and regulating the furniture industry through controlling their members (i.e. furniture companies). They provide expert help within all sectors of the industry and also in supply chain management. Support such as training, events and seminars are also provided. Furniture Industry Research Association (FIRA)
Wood Recyclers’ Association
The Wood Recyclers’ Association works to promote the wood recycling industry both in the UK but also abroad. They do this through providing advice and guidelines, act as a mediator between their members and support their members as to maximize business opportunities and such. Wood Recyclers’ Association
Sist endret 27. januar 2017