Professor Marc Journeault and his research team have studied a sector with great potential in Quebec: the recovery and reuse of office furniture. Read a summary of their research in circular economy.
The pandemic context has disrupted the work environment, notably by bringing remote work to the forefront. Thus, since March 2020, a large proportion of the personnel of the Quebec government structures and all other organizations (universities, banks, insurance companies, etc.) work partially from their homes. This rise in remote work has an impact on office space and furniture needs by reducing rental space, and leaves thousands of orphaned office furniture that will have to be disposed of by organizations.
However, in Quebec, the furniture recovery industry is not well structured and few outlets currently seem to be available to recover the office furniture that will be disposed of by organizations. Moreover, the furniture in circulation and its characteristics are unknown, complicating the development of a dedicated recovery chain, inspired by the best practices and existing business models in Canada and internationally.
It is in this perspective that the project was developed. Based on interviews with identified stakeholders and literature reviews, the project proposed ways to think about how a recovery and reclamation network for office furniture in Quebec could be developed and structured.
More specifically, this reflection allowed us to map the path of office furniture at the end of its life cycle, to identify the actors in Quebec who are part of this sector and to identify the obstacles and levers to the implementation of an office furniture recovery sector. In addition, best practices and potential solutions for the development of a furniture recovery chain and the deployment of a more circular value chain were highlighted.
The results obtained show the potential of such a value chain in the current context where the office furniture market is in sharp decline due to new work habits. Moreover, the results of this project will allow to accentuate and direct the research on the most viable business models, based on concrete case studies and involving all the actors of the value chain.