Those who know CHANINTR associate the company with luxury imported furniture and, admittedly, the hefty price tag that comes with unparalleled quality and design. For the last 25 years, CHANINTR has been Thailand’s biggest player when it comes to high-end furniture. They introduced to the local market some of the world’s most prestigious names in design — think Minotti’s made-in-Italy modular sofas, Carl Hansen & Søn’s iconic chairs and your grandma’s beloved Baker furniture. Now, the top-of-mind company for designer furnishings is seeking to make an impact on the environment.
Partnering with Like-Minded Brands
As a company that relies on imports, CHANINTR is aware of its footprint. Most of the brands under their umbrella travel far to get to Thailand; many are from the United States and Europe. While transportation is unavoidable, the company in turn chooses to only partner with those that share the same green mission.
Take one of the company’s fastest growing divisions, workplace furniture, for instance. CHANINTR is the exclusive authorized dealer for the American office brand Herman Miller, a longtime advocate for sustainable design and manufacturing. Most of Herman Miller’s products, including the legendary Aeron chair, are made using recyclable materials that can be recycled again at the end of its lifetime. Then there’s Emeco, whose brand is so ingrained in the environment that it continually goes above and beyond what’s required of U.S. laws and regulations, even so far as to declare the CO2 emissions on all their products so customers can make informed decisions when shopping (“similar to nutrition labels,” the brand claims).
Buy 1, Plant 1
But aside from partnering with the right people, CHANINTR has also started making their own moves. On Earth Day in April 2021, the furniture retailer shared via social media their “Buy 1, Plant 1” initiative to plant one tree for every item of furniture sold. They soon followed that up with another post at the end of July 2021, announcing they had successfully planted 50,000 trees — the number of items the company sold in 2020 — through a partnership with Plant for the Planet and Conserve Natural Forests. According to the latter, the number of trees planted by CHANINTR will offset 1,130,226 kilograms of CO2 per year.
The Future is Circular
Looking forward, CHANINTR is committed to prioritizing environmental impact as a key factor in all upcoming projects. The new lockdown this year led to an even bigger WFH boom. As their inboxes flooded with enquiries about WFH furniture, CHANINTR saw it the perfect time to launch a Herman Miller chair subscription program. Pergo Lite allows customers to subscribe to award-winning ergonomic chairs for as little as THB 900 per month with the ability to cancel anytime — no questions asked. In the first two months, it received over 150 subscriptions for the Aeron chair (THB 1,800 per month).
But what’s most exciting about Pergo Lite for CEO Chanintr Sirisant isn’t the business opportunity. Instead, it’s the fact that the circular economy model of the subscription plan promotes a greener way of doing business.
“We saw the many benefits that came with furniture rental’s circular economy,” Sirisant said. “Aside from providing our customers with flexibility and affordability, it also extends the lifetime of furniture: when the chair is no longer wanted, it can be returned and given to a new customer to use over and over again. This business model prevents furniture from ending up in landfills.”
And what happens when the chairs are no longer in like-new condition? The company then plans on reselling them as second-hand furniture at its annual warehouse sale, further increasing the lifespan of the product.
Sirisant tells us that’s not all the company is working on. “For us, sustainability is about doing our part in protecting the environment so that our customers can feel confident in our brands and services,” he told Bitesize BKK. The team also has plans to introduce eco-friendly packaging, minimize plastic around the showrooms and improve waste management. “We’re not completely there yet but we know that every small change and action counts. Hopefully we can inspire other businesses in the same industry to take that first step too.”
Writer: Uracha Chaiyapinunt (@urachac)