Sustainability Mission - Abroad

Our International Sustainability Mission

We celebrate four decades of manufacturing exquisite products from around the globe and make every effort to focus on our Sustainability Statement. Our focus begins before the product is produced. We start by considering the community and invest in ways we can positively impact the partners and artisans in each region we source from and operate alongside. We support these communities so that they continue to thrive. This enables them to hire a larger team, infusing the local economy and bringing a higher quality of life to the artisans they employ. With our investment, they are able to constantly improve their own operating systems; from raw materials acquisition to material efficiencies, all the way through to how they manage their inventory and package the goods for overseas transportation.

Below we have highlighted just a handful of ways we feel we are making a positive impact abroad. From our consideration of materials and sourcing, to the construction, packaging and ordering processes.

Origins by Phillips Collection: Amongst our biggest achievements to date has been in the creation of Origins by Phillips Collection. We find and work with the roots of long-ago felled trees and fashion them into exquisite furnishings for homes, hotels, restaurants and other environments all around the globe. These pieces are crafted from the massive root systems of the trees and we turn into consoles, tables, stools, reception desks and so much more. Converting each and every piece of the tree., where tree stumps become a dining table base, and the crown into a console. Even the branches and roots are then carved and made into sculptures which we mount on stands, turning them into accessories and objects of art.

We work with the longer sections of the truck to create live-edge dining tables, a look popularized by the famous Japanese-American woodworker George Nakashima. We acquire these trunks—sometimes up to 30-feet long—through naturally felled trees as well as through working with the governments of Thailand and Indonesia. When a road needs to be widened or a plot cleared for infrastructure projects—to the building of a hospitality or university—we pay for the right to obtain those pieces that have beautiful imperfections. What is unacceptable for lumber and telephone pole companies is what we find the most desirable. We find beauty in imperfection, and we want materials and pieces that others reject.

Sustainable Materials: There are many choices to be considered when we design and develop a new product. Of those, the most important decision for us is always what material we choose to work with. When selecting woods, we often source fruit-bearing trees like mango and banana wood as these trees reach maturity at around 10-15 years, and the farmers have to fell the trees and plant new ones to continue the process of harvesting fruit. We have created some amazing collections using these woods, as well as working with found vines and branches, fast-growing woods like acacia, and of course bamboo.

Reclaimed Materials: This is where it starts getting fun. At Phillips Collection we take discarded materials and give them a new life as sophisticated furniture, wall décor, and sculptures. You'd be hard-pressed to find a company that does more with decommissioned oil drums than us! We make our award-winning oil drum discs from reclaimed 55-gallon drums, from which we are able to yield eleven 22” discs. We mount these at various depths off the wall to create dimensional wall sculptures. Upon touring the factory in Thailand where we produce these, we found a large pile of discarded rims from the drums—two from each drum at the top and bottom—and we decided there must be some way to work with them. Thus, our Olympic Collection was born. We upcycle other materials like…bicycle rims! And we work with crushed paint cans, pulverized stone and even scraps of denim from old blue jeans.

Sustainable Furnishings Council: As founding members of the Sustainable Furnishings Council (SFC), which was established in 2006 to raise awareness of the environmental impact of the furnishings industry. An organization which is open to manufacturers, importers, retailers and even interior designers who want to join and support their organization. Anyone who wants to join needs to submit to an extensive application process which includes vetting from the SFC Executive Committee.

Anyone can say they are “eco-friendly” or practice “sustainability”, but in working with such a thorough and thoughtful organization, we have made the decision to expose our operations and systems to grow and to change. Having lobbied for transparency in the industry, and we practice what we preach, and have learned so much along the way. There were even things we were doing that were inefficient that we didn’t even realize. Finding other hurdles we had to overcome to ensure we were doing everything possible to minimize our environmental impact. Implementing not only what we learned locally but adapting new practices abroad as well.

Supply Chain Management: Designing a product that uses eco-friendly and using responsibly-sourced materials is not enough. You have to look at ways to create efficiencies in your packing, finishing, finished product inventory and the managing of raw materials. At a factory-level, if they buy too much wood or cardboard, it has a risk of getting damaged or absorbing too much moisture, creating wasteful inefficiencies. The way boxes are being packaged is an area of constant refinement. Building a box too large reduces how many boxes can be loaded onto a container, and increases the cost for shipping. Overpacking the boxes with too much paper or bubble wrap is wasteful. Wrapping the pieces before they have adequate time to cure can damage the finish. Poorly packed items can get damaged in shipping. All of these concerns need to be constantly addressed and refined, because there is nothing more wasteful than an eco-friendly or sustainable product arriving broken. It is a complete loss.

At Phillips Collection, we constantly refine these inefficiencies and invest in building efficient warehouses at our largest partner factories to ensure our goods have the proper humidity and don’t get shipped without proper inspection and quality control. Our agents around the world work diligently to ensure the products we design are built to the highest quality standards.