Norrgavel and the Nordic Swan

Why we’ve chosen to get our furniture certificated by Nordic Swan

Norrgavel was first contacted by Nordic Swan in the late 1990s. At that time, we decided to get Nordic Swan certification where we could; there were no criteria then for upholstered furniture, for example. The process was an easy one, as there was only really one type of glue that we had to change. Norrgavel was the first Swedish company to be granted the Nordic Swan Ecolabel for its home furniture. 

Our ecocycle policy is, and always has been, at the core of the way we make our furniture. Taking this rigid stance means that we almost never get into debates about maximum concentrations and ecological limit values – instead we can get on and work with natural materials simply for the pleasure of it. 

As more and more people talk about sustainability and care for the environment, it feels good to have a label to refer to from a third party. We hope that gives you, the customer, some peace of mind.

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Nordic Swan-certificated furniture – one chair and one table?

We realise customers might be confused about our ecolabelling at the moment. Nordic Swan have changed their criteria for furniture, and so everyone has had to submit new applications for furniture that had been certificated earlier. This is a very big, time-consuming piece of administrative work involving our entire chain of production. So far, submissions in respect of the new criteria have been approved in respect of our Spindle back chair and our Extending table. Our aim is to have all our furniture ecolabelled in some form, just as it was before. 

We haven’t changed our previously ecolabelled furniture at all, it’s simply that Nordic Swan have raised their standards and so we have had to submit completely new applications. We think that’s a good thing as Norrgavel has previously felt that, in several cases, the Nordic Swan criteria were not demanding enough. 

Norrgavel furniture has previously met most of the Nordic Swan requirements with ease, and so we do not envisage that we will have a problem fulfilling the new criteria. However, it does take time to gather together all the documentation required for the applications. One new criteria is that all furniture must now be tested for durability. This is important from an environmental perspective, of course, to enable us to move away from the throwaway society we have been living in for too long. Good quality should guarantee that you will be happy with and use your furniture for a long time. For Norrgavel, these quality and durability criteria have always been a given. However, we chose not to pay for the expensive tests undertaken by bodies such as the SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden. But this sort of procedure is now a Nordic Swan requirement, and so we regularly send our furniture away for testing so that we can get our new applications approved. 

This means that currently only our Spindle back chair and Extending table are shown as approved items on the Nordic Swan website. In the future, customers will find other pieces of our furniture on the site just as before. (current as at January 2017) 

Aim of the Nordic Swan Ecolabel

The Nordic Swan is there to help consumers choose the products that are best for the environment. Its vision is of a sustainable society in which environmental labelling contributes to sustainable consumption. For businesses, the Nordic Swan label provides proof that they are actively working towards sustainable production and that their products have met Nordic Swan’s tough environmental criteria. 

The Nordic Swan Ecolabel

The Swan was ‘born’ in 1989, when the Nordic Council of Ministers established the Ecolabel to help consumers make environmentally positive choices. The first groups of products to be included in the scheme were paper and batteries. Today, the Swan can be found on over ten thousand goods and services. 

After a few years, the Swan was joined by the EU flower (EU Ecolabel). The state-owned company Ecolabelling Sweden is responsible for both the Swan and the EU Ecolabel and operates on a non-profit basis on behalf of the government. 

Nordic Swan criteria for furniture and interiors

Swan-certificated furniture meets the environmental criteria for raw materials such as wood, metal, upholstery padding and plastic. There are also stringent requirements for chemicals used in furniture production. Furniture that carries the Nordic Swan Ecolabel is of high quality and is tested for durability. They are amongst the least environmentally harmful on the market. 

Interested in finding out more about the Swan? Visit www.svanen.se/en/


Swan-certificated furniture ...

  • Is of high quality and is also tested for durability
  • No wood comes from protected forests
  • Lacquer and paint have a minimal content of organic solvents
  • Wood-based panels are produced using low-energy methods and give off only a small amount of formaldehyde
  • Production of textiles and padding has low environmental impact
  • The furniture contains no brominated flame retardants
  • The furniture is constructed so that it can easily be recycled 
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