INFURI - INnovation in the FURniture Industry

INnovation in the FURniture Industry in the era of circular economy (INFURI)

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  • Participating countries: Netherlands, Portugal, Greece, Italy, Spain, Slovenia, and Poland.
  • Start: 01-12-2020 - End: 31-05-2023
  • Project Reference: 2020-1-NL01-KA202-064554
  • Key Action: Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices
  • Action Type: Strategic Partnerships for vocational education and training

Coordinator: Wittenborg University of Applied Science 

Partners: Virtual Campus Lda, Creative Thinking Development, Ciape - Centro Italiano Per L'apprendimento Permanente, Instituto Tecnologico Metalmecanico, Mueble, Madera, Embalaje Y Afines-Aidimme, Step Institut, Zavod Za Psihologijo Dela In Podjetnistvo, Ogolnopolska Izba Gospodarcza Producentow Mebli, Materially Impresa Sociale S.R.L, Mizarstvo Ornik


The EU furniture industry is a labour-intensive sector dominated by SMEs nowadays facing different challenges such as increasing competition from countries with lower production costs, increasing raw materials and labour costs, an ageing workforce and difficulties in attracting younger workers. Reconversion of the industry applying circularity has the potential to tackle these challenges, through repairing, refurbishment and remanufacture, allowing value recovery, economic growth and job creation within the European furniture industry, while saving on resources and protecting the environment.

As for the EC report on the implementation of the Circular Economy Action Plan (2019), the transition from linear to circular requires significant changes at micro, meso and macro levels, from innovation at business model and value chain level to the introduction of new technologies. The furniture industry is dominated by SMEs and most of the employees do not have a tertiary education level and are not acquainted with circular economy aspects.

To address skills gaps and mismatches and to strengthen human capital along the entire furniture value chain, it is fundamental to invest in skills, design, creativity, research, innovation and new technologies. Based on these assumptions, the INFURI project’s main objectives are:

  • To equip furniture employees with relevant skills related to circularity.
  • To spread innovative and sustainable circular business models in the furniture industry contributing to enhancing its competitiveness.
  • To develop an innovative training approach and learning tools adaptable to other industries.
  • To increase SMEs’ ability to analyse their business under a “circular” point of view.
  • To promote synergies and cooperation among businesses, universities, research centres and other relevant stakeholders operating in the furniture sector following a circular approach.
  • To spread circular procurement principles with benefits in terms of corporate social responsibility.

The project will be implemented by a complementary partnership composed of 9 institutions from 7 European countries (the Netherlands, Poland, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain). The initiative will be directly addressed to 18 European furniture SMEs, as well as to 36 furniture companies and relevant stakeholders active in the sector of furniture & circular economy of countries involved in the project.

The INFURI Project, in order to materialise its objectives and produce its deliverables, comprises a set of intellectual outputs, learning activity and multiplier events, supported by management activities and a dissemination/exploitation plan that will ensure the use of its results even after the project has ended. All activities will see the active involvement of direct and indirect target groups.
The C1 will be addressed to 18 furniture SMEs’ employees. The main aim will be to pilot the IOs developed and to transfer skills related to circularity applied to the furniture industry and to create business ideas for circular furniture products.

Moreover, the project foresees the production, use, evaluation and promotion of 5 intellectual outputs: IO1 - Living Labs and "Circularity matters: gaps, limits and constraints in the EU furniture industry" paper; IO2 - MOOC "Managing a furniture company in the era of circular economy"; IO3 - Book of lectures "Integrated competencies and systemic approach in the era of circular economy"; IO4 - Multi-actor circular network; IO5 - Circular Procurement Guidelines for Office Furniture.

All intellectual outputs will be uploaded on the website and made available to target groups, partners, associate partners and external stakeholders during and beyond the life of the project. IO 2- MOOC "Managing a furniture company in the era of circular economy" will be available into the main MOOC platforms, such as Iversity, Udemy and Udacity, IO3 - Book of lectures "Integrated competencies and systemic approach in the era of circular economy" will be available also in a video format on YouTube, while IO4 - Multi-actor circular network will remain active and will be further expanded. C1 activity results (prototypes) will remain available at ORNIK headquarters, while circular product ideas will be further studied and implemented by the SMEs. The crowdfunding campaigns (part of the go-to-market strategies) started during the project (during C1 activity) will remain active.

The intellectual outputs and dissemination activities will be designed ad hoc for the target groups and to assure transferability and sustainability of products and results. Social media as well as relevant sectorial events and fairs will be the core of the dissemination strategy. Partners commit themselves to further study and use the IOs developed. INFURI will impact the macro (international and European) level giving new boost to jobs, growth and investment and to promote a carbon neutral, resource-efficient and competitive economy.


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