Spreading Innovative and Circular Business Models in the Furniture Industry
The international project consortium of the Erasmus+ funded project INFURI (INnovation in the FURniture Industry in the Era of circular economy) have successfully developed and launched two of their official INFURI project results recently.
One is a two-part Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) themed "Managing a furniture company in the era of circular economy", which contains learning units and learning outcomes designed to improve knowledge and skills regarding circularity of furniture SMEs employees aspiring to managerial positions. The MOOC is freely available in English and accessible via Udemy in two parts: Part 1 Introducing Circularity in the Furniture Value Chain and Part 2 Engaging Furniture Consumers in the Era of Circular Economy. It is hoped that this MOOC will provide opportunities to learn more about and develop the necessary skills to manage a furniture company in the era of circular economy.
Another recently launched project result is a book of lectures entitled ''Integrated Competencies and Systemic Approach in the Era Of Circular Economy'', containing real-life case studies of furniture companies in the project partner countries. The aim of the book of lectures is to provide helpful teaching material to enable European furniture SMEs, employees and stakeholders in the field of furniture and circularity as well as vocational education and training (VET) providers, institutions and associations, to learn and develop the tools for a systematic approach in the era of circular economy. Printable and digital versions are available under the Results section of the official INFURI website.
The launch of the MOOC, the book of lectures and the progress of other project results were highlighted at project multiplier events in a number of partner countries recently. The aim of such events is to disseminate and promote the project results to the public and those people and organisations who can benefit from them.
Our project partner Virtual Campus hosted a multiplier event themed on running a furniture business in the circular economy era, which took place on 14 March in the aptly named Paços de Ferreira, the city of furniture. This event hosted almost 50 participants, mostly VET students and their teachers. Two university professors of economics (Professor José António Porfírio and Professor José Castro Oliveira) an introduction on the concept of circular economy and stated the differences between circulatory economy and linear economy, giving some practical examples of companies. This was followed by a presentation of the project and its results, a circular economy implementation and validation workshop and networking.
Also on 14 March, Polish project partner Ogólnopolska Izba Gospodarcza Producentów Mebli (the Polish Chamber of Commerce for Furniture Manufacturers) hosted a multiplier event at the Faculty of Wood Technology, Warsaw University of Life Sciences. The guest speakers included Sylwia Oleńska of the Polish Chamber of Commerce for Furniture Manufacturers and Joanna Misiun of Schattdecor, the innovative surface specialist.
Similarly, project partners STEP Institute and Mizarstvo Ornik hosted a multiplier event in Slovenia on 18 March, which hosted approximately 50 local and international participants, a mix of young people (including university and high school students), stakeholders and staff from some partner organisations. The project results were presented and evaluated and an interactive workshop was held, together with a quiz and time for discussion and reflection on the challenges and solutions in moving from linear to circular business models.
The international project consortium are happy with the project results so far, which will enable the acquisition of new knowledge and the development of skills and competences in the field of sustainability and circular economy in the furniture industry.
by Selina White