Harith Green Carpenter: Malaysian Eco-Friendly Carpentry Business
When I think of sustainable carpentry, the first thing that comes to my mind is reducing woodwork waste, which I guess just comes with time and experience.
It wasn’t until I ran into Harith Ridzuan from The Green Factory who shared more about sustainable carpentry and how he practices it in his factory that I was enlightened.
“Sustainable woodworking looks at various aspects of the production flow and how to make this process more environmentally friendly. Besides our material, we look at glue, coating, design, documentation, education, community, among other factors. We also apply zero waste manufacturing in our factory while promoting sustainability to the public, ”he told Vulcan Post.
He inherited the hands of a carpenter
Now Harith’s family have been working in the carpentry business since 1993. Harith started helping his parents during school holidays when he was 10 and has been exposed to factory production activities ever since.
“As the first of 10 siblings, I was prepared from an early age to take over the family business,” he explained.
“After completing my studies in 2008, graduating in Management from the University of Nottingham in the UK, I officially joined the family business and took courses in professional carpentry.”
In the early years of his takeover of the business, he experimented with many recycled materials and greener processes in wood making, which Harith said few carpenters were considering at the time.
Much of The Green Factory’s income actually comes from the traditional activities that the Harith family has always had, namely interior design and government contracts.
Dictionary time: An interior design is the process of preparing an interior space for occupancy and renovation, which is accompanied by the placement of structural features such as the placement of windows, door trim, heating, plumbing and ventilation.
Construction Stovall Inc.
The green factory typically accommodates 20 to 35 workers at a time, as it trains around 20 to 24 students per year.
However, as Harith delved more into sustainable carpentry, The Green Factory started a new business selling eco-friendly furniture to the public.
This new venture is mainly gaining traction with the F&B sector, eco-friendly businesses and community, and carpentry enthusiasts.
Some of their notable clients include Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur, Isetan, The Star Media Group, Ben’s, and lululemon. However, they have received increased demand from retail customers in recent years.
What do they mean by “green”?
“From my observation, a lot of our local carpenters are heading in the right direction, especially those who recycle old wood, but there’s more to sustainable manufacturing than just the material,” Harith said.
Harith explained that carpenters should also take into account the entire production chain, such as the design process, the amount of waste that would come from these designs, the use of a non-toxic coating, the amount of carbon emissions that your workers produce while traveling or using eco-friendly machinery and packaging.
“If you just focus on one aspect, it’s a slippery slope to greenwashing,” he said.
One way they talk about it is to make wooden phone stands from their scraps (a piece of wood after you cut a large piece). The use of offcuts also opened up another source of income for them as they sold thousands of these woodwork as corporate or novelty gifts.
As for the wood chips, they collected them and sold them in bags to interested buyers who used them for nurseries, composting and animal litter. They were also using them as a replacement for bubble wrap when wrapping smaller items for delivery.
Not just a self-proclaimed green brand
While Harith and The Green Factory hammer a lot (no pun intended) on the “green-ness” of their brand, it’s not without validation.
They have won several awards that demonstrate their brand’s respect for the environment, such as the 2019 Malaysia Timber Certification Council (MTCC) Sustainability Award.
In addition to this, the other brands under him, Dapo, Nokta and oran & bula are all PEFC certified, which is an international non-profit certification that is given if a company demonstrates a legal and sustainable supply of forest products to its customers. .
Harith sources its wood from PEFC certified forests, and to maintain this certification, they are audited annually to ensure they meet international standards set by the NGO.
In addition to all of these certifications, Harith also runs the Green Hammer Program, a public awareness program aimed at raising awareness about the adoption of sustainability in various industries, educational institutes and communities.
One of these projects was to train Datai Langkawi’s in-house carpenters to reclaim old wood discarded from their buildings.
To encourage more discussion about green practices and the adoption of sustainability in businesses, Harith also founded a Facebook group called Green Design Malaysia.
- You can read more about Harith Green Carpenter here.
- You can read more about the other startups we’ve written here.
Featured Image Credit: Harith Ridzuan, Founder of Harith Green Carpenter
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