Enabling low-carbon development in the office furniture industry
Covestro and Sunon to accelerate commercialization of circular material solutions
• Covestro is deepening local cooperation in the China market to promote the circular economy
• Alternative raw materials support the green transformation of the furniture industry and China’s carbon neutral ambitions
Today at the fifth China International Import Expo (CIIE), Covestro partnered with office furniture manufacturer Sunon and industrial chain partners Zhanchen New Materials, Huafon Microfibre, Sinomax Kuka and H.B. Fuller. Together, they signed the “Green and Sustainable Office Furniture Strategic Collaboration”, aiming to accelerate commercial applications of innovative circular materials. The partnership enables a reduced carbon footprint for not only Sunon and its products, but the office furniture industry as a whole.
The cooperation is led by Covestro and Sunon Research Center. They have identified industry chain partners to expand collaboration on sustainable materials in office furniture, especially the application and commercialization of bio-based waterborne coatings, biomass foams, microfiber materials, furniture adhesives, as well as post-recycled polycarbonate materials.
“Covestro is actively supporting different value chains to reduce emissions and accelerate the transition to a circular economy by increasing the use of alternative raw materials,” said Holly Lei, President of Covestro China. “We are very pleased to work with Sunon and other partners to advance sustainable development for the office furniture industry. We look forward to accelerating commercialization of more innovative solutions by expanding the local production capacity and scale of circular materials. Together, we will contribute to the high-quality and sustainable development of China's economy as well as its carbon neutral ambitions.”
Chen Yuanfang, Vice President of Sunon Group Co., Ltd., said, “Sunon has always been committed to providing solutions for safe, environmentally-friendly, comfortable and intelligent office and commercial spaces. We have created better places to work by weaving workplace wellbeing into the fabric of our company’s mission and the entire lifecycle of furniture manufacturing, led by our pursuit of high-tech, natural and healthy products. This perfectly aligns with Covestro’s aim to usher in the circular economy. In order to create healthy workspaces for customers, we continue to promote environmental protection upgrades and innovative applications of sustainable materials to meet the market’s demand for low-carbon and environmentally-friendly office furniture. By working with Covestro and other partners in the industry chain to create new sustainable solutions, we expect to accelerate our industry’s green transformation.”
New low-carbon and high-efficiency materials for office furniture
Consumers are increasingly concerned about the material safety and sustainability of the products in their home and work environments. Although bio-based waxes and oils for treating furniture surface have been around for a long time, they often do not provide the same protection as fossil-based coatings, especially for office furniture with higher performance requirements. Covestro’s bio-based waterborne UV technology, Bayhydrol® CQ and Recovery® CQ, contains approximately 35 percent bio-based contents, which can reduce the carbon footprint of furniture coatings, while offering the same chemical resistance and mechanical properties, compared to conventional fossil-based products. The technology has been tested in the modern waterborne UV five-axis spraying line at Sunon’s Intelligent Manufacturing Base in Qiantang, Zhejiang, and the appearance and performance of the coated products have reached the expected goals. CQ stands for Circular Intelligence and is dedicated to Covestro products with at least 25 percent alternative raw material content.
Covestro also supplies the furniture industry with mass-balanced materials containing a share of biomass raw materials. For example, certified by ISCC PLUS, its high-performance microfiber artificial leather solutions, high-density foam solutions, and formaldehyde-free furniture adhesive solutions are based on Desmodur® CQ isocyanate. Their biomass content can reach 60 percent, 50 percent, and 60 percent, respectively. The carbon footprint can be reduced by more than 50 percent, 30 percent, and 50 percent, respectively (from cradle to Covestro gate). In the mass-balanced approach, raw materials derived from biomass or waste are fed in at an early stage of raw material extraction and mathematically attributed to the finished products. This saves fossil raw materials and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
In addition, Covestro is actively extending the possibilities of post-consumer recycled (PCR) polycarbonate materials in the furniture industry. With a high degree of quality and traceability, the PCR portfolio has been widely applied in electronics and electrical industries to help reduce carbon emissions. Furthermore, Covestro’s comprehensive capability of CMF (Color, Material, Finish) design for polycarbonate can bring more inspiration into furniture design.
Sunon Technology Co., Ltd., established in 1991, is an enterprise group dedicated to providing one-stop solutions for healthy, environment-friendly, comfortable, and smart office and commercial space, with product shipped to 118 countries and regions around the world. Customers of Sunon include 174 Fortune Global 500 companies and 307 China top 500 companies, such as Huawei, Alibaba, Tencent, Google, Toyota, and Coca-Cola.
Sunon has set up the European Research and Development Center in Berlin, Germany, the North American Research and Development Center in Los Angeles, and a joint research center for smart furniture with Zhejiang University. Sunon has obtained 1402 patents and 35 European and American design awards. Sunon now has 6 bases, Xiaoshan Modern Manufacturing Base, Sunon Technological Innovation Park, Qiantang Intelligent Manufacturing Base, Haining Eco-friendly Manufacturing Base, Sunon North Headquarters, and Sunon International (North America) Base in Mexico, to gradually form development featured by one-chain production, fine quality, collaborative development, and efficient distribution.
In the future, Sunon will persist in creating value for clients and is committed to becoming the office solution provider trusted by users all over the world.
Covestro is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of high-quality polymer materials and their components. With its innovative products, processes and methods, the company helps enhance sustainability and the quality of life in many areas. Covestro supplies customers around the world in key industries such as mobility, building and living, as well as the electrical and electronics sector. In addition, polymers from Covestro are also used in sectors such as sports and leisure, cosmetics and health, as well as in the chemical industry itself.
The company is committed to becoming fully circular and is striving to become climate neutral by 2035 (scope 1 and 2). Covestro generated sales of EUR 15.9 billion in fiscal 2021. At the end of 2021, the company had 50 production sites worldwide and employed approximately 17,900 people (calculated as full-time equivalents).
This news release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Covestro AG. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in Covestro’s public reports which are available at www.covestro.com. The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.