Baltic Furniture 2019 in Latvia

Katarzyna Czop News

On the 18th of October 2019, Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry organized a practical forum about the circular economy within the exhibition “Baltic Furniture 2019”. The name of the forum was “Circular economy: examples of business modules, opportunities and challenges” and the forum was moderated by well known Latvian journalist and TV host – Ansis Bogustovs.

During the forum, first speaker was a project manager Zane Bilzēna from Latvian Environmental Investment Fund, who spoke about the project “Circular PP”, what aims to use public procurement in the Baltic Sea Region as a catalyst to enhance the market uptake of innovative circular products and services by building capacity among all stakeholders of the value chain. From Latvian Environmental Investment Fund also participated and spoke expert of the project – Jana Simanovska, who told what is circular economy in general and what are the companies, that use principles of circular economy in Latvia and other countries of the world.

As the following were presented Latvian companies, that use the principles of circular economy in their business. As the first was the company, that use such examples as “upcycling” and “recycling” in their area – “ZĪLE-ZĪLE”, which was presented by its brand manager Inta Romanovska. Inta told, that it is not necessary to throw out old pair of jeans, because you can turn them into a dress or any other clothing to wear. Next company, what was presented, uses “zero-waste” principle with coffee – “Café M” – what was presented by its founder and director Ulla Milbreta, who admitted that after long years of living in Singapore and witnessing all the negative impact on environment done by humans and also a big amount of plastic waste , she decided to come back to Latvia and open her own coffee shop and its added value would be exactly “zero-waste” principle. This principle would also show, that the waste you get from coffee making process is not the final product, but the product that can be used as a raw material. And the third company, that was presented, was “Pavasara Mēbeles”, which use the principles of circular economy with furniture. The company was presented by its founder and designer Alise Ābele, who reveals that in her and her team opinion “There is no such furniture, that should be thrown out! You can fix and repair everything!”. She also told that they are often approached by people, who want to repair or fix very precious for them piece of furniture, and also, that they offer seminars and workshops for everyone, who is interested to learn how to fix and repair furniture by themselves.

After the companies, which use principles of circular economy in their field, were presented, next speaker was from Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development of the Republic of Latvia, director of environmental protection department Rudīte Vesere. She told about the opportunities and challenges in development of circular economy in Latvia and as well as the benefits, in case of successful development, which will include not only environmental improvements, but also, create new local workplaces.

At the end of the forum, administrative director of Danish company “Hojer Mobler”, Michael Glibstrup shared an experience story of more than 25 years of producing a sustainable furniture for education and training institutions, with aim not to only take care of environment, but also functionality and design. Michael also shared experience of the public procurement regarding furniture. At the end of the presentation, Michael added that it is a long way to circular and sustainable environment, but it is definitely worth!

Forum was organized within Interreg cross-border cooperation program of Baltic Sea Region (BSR), in the framework of project “Using innovation procurement and capacity building to promote Circular Economy”.