George Walkers: profiting from the circular economy.

13 Oct 2015

George Walkers sells office furniture with a twist: it buys ex-corporate office furniture, refurbishes it and then sells to offices across New Zealand. Annually this saves thousands of cubic metres from landfill.

Entering the market seven years ago George Walker reinvented the furniture sales business model after seeing a big gap in the market: there were no other furniture companies in Auckland.

Throughout the past seven years George Walkers has led innovation in the refurbished furniture market.

“We have noticed more and more businesses are leaning towards more sustainable options and being more responsible in regards to the impact they have on the environment and society,” says Serena Maitland, general manager of George Walkers.

The company prides itself on top quality refurbishment and says that no piece of office furniture is beyond some TLC.

“George Walkers refurbishes and re-designs much of the furniture. We refurbish the best quality chairs. Often the mechanism is top end and the fabric is faded,” Serena says.

The innovation of George Walkers means savings for the company’s buyers. Serena says a brand new chair can cost more than $500 where a refurbished chair costs only $275, making interior design budgets go further for the same quality of product.

Refurbished furniture isn’t only a financially sound option for companies looking to refurbish. George Walkers purchases pre-used office furniture and has a donation scheme.

“If a business wants to sell its existing furniture then we work out a solution that best suits the business. We make an offer for furniture based on age, condition, quality and also take into account the cost associated with transporting the furniture. Being able to refurbish and donate allows us to solve the problem as a whole rather than just taking the items we prefer.”

Each year George Walkers sells to more than 3000 New Zealand based companies, sells more than 7000 pieces of furniture and donates 2000 cubic metres of furniture to the community. This adds up to saving 5000 cubic metres of furniture from landfill every year.

The Circular Economy Model Office is one of the Sustainable Business Network’s projects aiming to transform the office refurbishment and new build industry from a linear model (‘take-make-waste’) to a circular one (where the lifecycle of materials is maximised, usage optimised and at the end of life all materials are reutilised). To get involved please contact James Griffin on james@sustainable.org.nz

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SBN is working with businesses in four transformation areas.
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