Bene is synonymous with inspiring office and working environments. The high standards in terms of functionality, quality, design and sustainability can be felt in every single product and project. This Austrian manufacturer operates one of the most modern and efficient production facilities in the office furniture industry in Europe and has now published a Sustainability Report for 2023.
Sustainable, growth-orientated, innovative and successful: Bene was able to increase its sales from 2021 to 2022 by 29 per cent to EUR 176.4 million. This Austrian group is one of the leading manufacturers in the European office furniture industry and reported an innovative capacity* of 31 per cent for 2022. With comprehensive office concepts and holistic, customised solutions, Bene creates individual workstations that make people feel good. Efficient use of materials and resources is a key part of this. In the current Sustainability Report 2023, the company provides a transparent insight into its environmental management, projects, objectives and results for the fourth time.
“Sustainability has always enjoyed a long-standing tradition at Bene”, explains Michael Fried, Executive Board Member For Sales, Marketing, Design & Innovation. “We have already introduced numerous key measures in the past with the aim of reducing our carbon footprint. And this is something we are planning to build on further.” With this in mind, Bene has clearly defined its sustainability objectives until 2030. The focus is on adjusting the entire value chain to reflect the principles of sustainability. That includes developing new recyclable product lines, drawing up an action plan to reduce all emissions, and consistently using sustainable and recyclable materials.
The results show how stringently Bene implements its environmental management objectives. “In 2022, despite significant increases in production, we succeeded in reducing our CO2 emissions from 621 to 542 t CO2e1 (–12%),” explains Chief Technical Director, Manfred Huber, Managing Director of Operations & Purchasing. Compared to the years 2016 to 2019, we were even able to cut our scope 1 emissions by half. For example, Bene sources its electricity from hydropower and is increasingly opting for electric drive systems when purchasing cars. “In 2021, we became the first furniture manufacturer in Austria to have selected products certified according to the EU Ecolabel,” explains Thomas Riegler, Manager of QSE Management. This environmental label, which was launched by the European Commission in 1992, is awarded to products proven to be particularly sustainable. In 2022, the office specialist also installed four new efficient biomass boilers, including an electrostatic filter, in turn successfully phasing out fossil fuels for heating and process heat and making oil heating officially a thing of the past at Bene.
With a clear commitment to implementing sustainability measures, all the decisions that Bene makes favour the environment and society. The quality and environmental management system (ISO 9001 and ISO 14001) has been a guiding principle since 2006. At the same time, the wide range of product certificates demonstrates Bene’s commitment to manufacturing safe and environmentally friendly furniture. In 2022, for example, Bene was able to improve its FEMB certification from Level 2 to Level 3 (the highest level). Thanks to this achievement, the company was able to achieve additional points in the impact areas materials, energy and atmosphere, chemicals management as well as social responsibility. Since a comprehensive circular economy also includes the recycling of waste from production, Bene is active in this area as well. The company returns all offcuts to the chipboard producers, who use these to make new boards.
“The circular economy is at the heart of our efforts,” says Chief Technical Director, Manfred Huber. “Our objective is to produce durable and timeless furniture for the workplace.” To achieve this, sustainability is incorporated into all areas of the company – from product development, purchasing, production and logistics right through to product recycling. Many of the furniture items can therefore be repaired, reconfigured and sorted into separate component types, as this is the only way to avoid waste in the long run. “We are rethinking our design processes,” says Michael Fried. “The entire process of product development is now significantly based on ecological requirements. After all, it is our responsibility as a company to provide customers with products that are as sustainable as possible.”
Photo credit: Bene GmbH
 CO2e = CO2 equivalents. This unit includes all other greenhouse gases emitted in addition to CO2, converted into CO2 values.
 With FEMB level®, the European Office Furniture Federation (FEMB) has created a certification that takes into account almost all sustainability criteria for European public procurement.
*Sales generated with products on the market for less than 5 years.