Bernhardt Design is a family-owned business operating in the foothills of the
scenic Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, a location endowed with earthly
riches – clean air, pure water, and an abundance of natural resources. In order
to protect and preserve these natural treasures, Bernhardt Design is committed
to environmental excellence in all business activities – from the design of prod-
ucts to the manufacturing facilities and processes – and is dedicated to instilling
high environmental values in its employees. In addition to complying with all
state, federal, and local regulations, Bernhardt Design has long-standing corpo-
rate policies to provide a safe and healthful workplace while conserving energy
and natural resources. These policies cover the reduction of emissions, water,
energy, waste and packaging materials, use of renewable and sustainable
materials, employee training and involvement, supply chain management and the
pursuit of environmental certifications.
Life-cycle thinking not only impacts how furniture is designed and produced, but also how daily business is conducted. In addition to in-house environmental poli- cies, Bernhardt Design communicates and partners with suppliers, governmental agencies, and BIFMA to assist in achieving results consistent with environmen- tal leadership.
As a sign of this commitment, a company-wide environmental management sys-
tem has been instated. The Bernhardt Design facilities are monitored and
inspected, and annual audits are conducted to measure the progress in the
reduction of electricity, water, solid and hazardous waste. A significant reduction in
greenhouse gases was recorded recently as a result of eliminating coal as a fuel
source, substituting wood waste from the manufacturing process.
Protecting the forests, which capture carbon dioxide and protect against global warming, is a company goal. Raw materials are chosen to preserve natural resources. Lumber and veneers are sourced only from sustainably harvested woodlands. FSC chain-of-custody materials are available for casegoods and table collections. Rapidly renewable resources – materials harvested within ten-year or shorter life cycle – are considered first in the designing process. Partnering with suppliers for developing applications for these materials resulted in the innovative use of natural fibers in a molded shell for the award-winning Cardan chair.
Bernhardt Design attempts to protect both employees and customers from emissions de-
rived from adhesives, foams and finishing materials. Glues are polyvinyl acetate (PVA) and
contain no harmful fumes. Foams contain no chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) and are applied
using water based adhesives. Plywood with a phenol-based resin (no urea formaldehyde)
is used for frames assembled with PVA glue for lounge seating.
Seating finishes contain low VOC’s and formaldehyde; water-borne finishes are used when possible for product lines. Casegoods receive an ultraviolet top sealer coat which contains low VOC’s and HAPS and no formaldehyde. Most Bernhardt Design seating and table prod- ucts are GREENGUARD certified, and all of the casegoods collections are available with a special GREENGUARD finish.
Recycling of materials and reduction of waste are monitored. In order to reduce landfill use, employees recycle cardboard, plastic, leather scraps, paper and styrofoam. Wood dust is collected and used to fuel heat for the manufacturing process. Suppliers are encouraged to reduce packaging. Reusable blankets are used whenever possible to wrap product ship- ments to minimize cardboard and packing materials.
Clean burning, ultra-low sulfur fuel is purchased for company trucks. Newer tractors are equipped with the DPF exhaust system which re-circulates the exhaust through a burner to remove the sulfur in the fuel.
Community outreach is an essential feature of the environmental management program. Working with a local high school to increase its
recycling efforts, representatives of Bernhardt Design met with students in a special assembly and challenged them to double the quan-
tities of materials recycled during a five-month period. Bernhardt Design contributed special recycling containers and offered rewards to
the students leading the recycling effort. As a result of this program, the recycling of paper and plastics at the school increased 114%.
Bernhardt Design corporately pledges to promote sound and sustainable business practices for the benefit of all for now and for years to come. This pledge includes strict adherence to set policies to reduce water and energy consumption; improve air quality and emissions; increase the use of renewable, sustainable and recycled materials while decreasing overall solid waste; project a positive influence on our supply chain; and create employee and community awareness and participation in environmental issues.