Upholstery and Textiles
We use cotton, feathers & down, foam, hemp, horsehair, jute, leather, linen, natural latex, coconut coir and wool in our upholstery. A flame retardant chemical is used in some items to comply with the law.
Our commitment on upholstery materials:
By end 2024, we will only use natural and FR chemical free materials. Working with industry experts, we have developed a foam alternative, free from fire retardant chemicals, combining natural latex, coconut coir, and wool – as seen in our Crillon and Opera collections.
Natural Latex and Coconut Coir
Together, natural latex and coconut coir make up two thirds of our natural alternative to petrochemical foam. Natural latex combines the milky sap from rubber trees with graphite, which is naturally fire retardant, and is filled with air for extra cushioning. Organic coconut coir (discarded fibres from the hairy coconut husk) is also combined with additional natural latex. This sandwich effect creates just the right amount of structure before being wrapped in a layer of organic British wool.
Cotton is grown throughout the world. Conventionally farmed crops need considerable amounts of water, fertilisers (derived from fossil fuels) and agro-chemicals to combat pests and diseases. In some regions there are concerns about the use of forced labour and the health and safety of farm workers exposed to agro-chemicals and harsh working conditions.
Small amounts of cotton are grown organically, avoiding crop protection chemicals and fossil fertilisers. Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and concerned companies have formed the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) which sets sustainability standards for cotton growers. Producers who meet the BCI’s core requirements can become licensed to grow and sell their produce as Better Cotton.
Our commitment on cotton:
Some of our cotton is sourced through the Better Cotton Initiative. We are working with our suppliers to establish full transparency of sources by the end of 2024. We will then be in a position to support an industry initiative and/or choose a certification system to support.
Feathers & Down
Feathers and down come from farmed poultry, usually as a by-product of the meat industry. There are concerns about animal welfare on farms, and the environmental and human health impacts during processing.
Our commitment on feathers & down:
Animal welfare is key. We are working to ensure all feathers & down are certified as non-live plucked, and we are looking to source recycled feathers & down. Meanwhile, we are working to meet the Responsible Down Standard.
Foam is made from fossil fuels and is particularly useful in holding the shape of modern upholstered furniture. The production of synthetic foam contributes to climate change and it is difficult to recycle, repair or re-use.
Our commitment on foam:
Whilst the majority of our furniture is made from natural materials, we are working to eliminate synthetic foam altogether by modifying our designs. We are committed to only use natural materials by 2024. Working with industry experts, we have developed a foam alternative, free from fire retardant chemicals, combining natural latex, coconut coir, and wool – as seen in our Crillon and Opera collections.
Hemp and Jute
Hemp and jute are natural, biodegradable fibres obtained from fast-growing plants that need little, if any, fertilisers and agro-chemicals. Hemp can be grown in mild climates while jute, used to make hessian, is grown mainly in south-east Asia. The fibres are increasingly used as a substitute for cotton, or as a blend.
Horsehair is a traditional upholstery material used for centuries. Some horsehair is collected in stables during grooming, but most comes from horses after they have reached the end of their life.
Our commitment on horsehair:
We want to ensure that all he horsehair we use is a by-product collected during grooming, or after life.
Hides and skins are a by-product of the meat and dairy industries and would otherwise go to waste if not processed as leather. Livestock farming in some parts of the world has been implicated in deforestation. Leather alternatives are mostly made from plastic, derived from fossil fuels. Progress is being made with leather substitutes made from plants and fungi, but these are still in development and currently more suitable for clothing. Conventional tanning uses highly toxic chemicals and can create damaging water pollution. Modern tanning methods reduce pollution and the volume of toxics used.
The Leather Working Group (LWG) is a non-profit that provides the world’s leading environmental certification for the leather industry. Audited tanneries can receive a Silver or Gold rating of their performance on, for example, chemical and water management, energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, waste management and hide traceability.
About a third of our leathers are sourced from a tannery in Spain with a Gold rating, demonstrating a strong commitment to environmental protection and supply chain traceability.
Our commitment on leather:
We are tracing the source of all our leathers and working with suppliers to encourage tanneries to be certified to the standards of the LWG. By 2026, all our leather will be sourced from tanneries rated Gold.
Linen is made from the fibres of the flax plant. Flax is widely grown in mild climates, such as Europe, and is considered to have a lower environmental impact than cotton because it needs fewer chemical inputs and less water.
Wool from sheep is natural, biodegradable, recyclable and produced worldwide. Concerns about animal welfare and the use of chemicals in farming and wool processing has put the spotlight on farming methods and led to certification initiatives to improve standards.
Our commitment on wool:
All wool to be certified as responsibly sourced by 2025, and preferably organically certified.
Polyester, Viscose & Mutka Silk
We use a small amount of polyester, made from oil, in our indoor/outdoor fabric. Viscose, made from wood, is a natural material produced in large, well-managed mills. We are working with our suppliers to find ways to source the most sustainably-produced viscose available, to avoid any deforestation and chemical pollution.
The short-fibre mutka silk we use is a by-product of the silk industry and would otherwise go to waste.
Our commitment on polyester & mutka silk:
We will continue to responsibly source mutka silk. By end 2023, we will use only recycled polyester.