When CORT customers sign a lease, they may not realize that by deciding to rent furniture rather than purchase brand new pieces for their home, office, or event they are making a better choice for the environment.
You may be asking yourself, “How is renting furniture more sustainable than buying new furniture?”
CORT conducted a supply chain greenhouse gas analysis with the help of ClearCarbon Consulting to better understand some of the environmental impacts and benefits of its rental model. The results of the analysis revealed that, when compared to a traditional furniture retail model, our rental model produces fewer greenhouse gases (GHGs). GHGs come from both natural and man-made sources and exist in the atmosphere. According to The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, GHGs are endangering people’s health and must be regulated.
Man-made GHG emissions result from daily activities such as the combustion of fuels for the generation of energy and transportation and emissions from industrial processes. These GHGs play an important role in keeping the atmosphere in a livable climate. Global climate change is one of the most important issues facing businesses today due to the direct correlation between GHGs, energy use, and cost. At CORT, we take measuring and managing our carbon footprint very seriously.
How does CORT’s Business Model Benefit the Environment?
Our products are rented multiple times for a total of three to four years on average before they are delivered to a CORT Furniture Outlet to be sold. While the rental cycle generally produces little wear and tear on the furniture, these pieces are thoroughly inspected, touched up, cleaned, and prepped for sale by experts at one of our 60+ warehouses nationwide prior to being shipped to the Outlet. At CORT Furniture Outlet, consumers receive a good value on a quality pre-leased product. By investing in durable products manufactured to our high-quality standards and maintaining the pieces throughout the rental process, we assure the product’s longevity while reducing the waste of our natural resources.
CORT’s furniture rental model not only guarantees that those who only need furniture temporarily do not purchase it and then throw it away, but it also ensures consumers have more choices when they make the decision to buy furniture. Disposal of furniture and accessories can pose a real challenge to an individual or company and more often than not, these products end up in landfills. CORT’s Furniture Rental and Furniture Outlet offerings reduce the amount of furniture that ends up in landfills. Additionally, by maintaining our products on a regular basis, we reduce our dependency on buying new products each year and thereby cut down on shipments from overseas and within the U.S., saving on the amount of fuel used to get the products to the United States for consumer consumption.
The high standards we set and expect from our furniture manufacturers are also important. These standards result in well-built furnishings that last longer and fulfill the desired lifestyle of today’s consumer, while also doing right by the environment. CORT offers GREENGUARD certified furniture from some of the world’s top office furniture manufacturers including Hon, Herman Miller, Global, and Lacasse.
The GREENGUARD Certification Program is led by the GREENGUARD Environmental Institute (GEI), an industry-independent, non-profit organization. The GEI currently certifies products and materials for emissions of volatile organic compounds and other chemicals. The certification program is broadly recognized and accepted by a number of “green” building programs, including the United States Green Building Council’s (USGBC) LEED® program. By having GREENGUARD certified product lines in our inventory, CORT is able to support its customers that are seeking to achieve LEED® certification or those who simply want sustainable business practices.
The CORT Commitment to Sustainability
In addition to the CORT overall business model being a more sustainable option for customers seeking home, office, or event furnishings, we are investing time and money to proactively integrate other sustainability practices into our own everyday business operation.
We are committed to using the latest and greatest technology to lower energy consumption, whether through LED lighting or installing ENERGY STAR® certified appliances for break rooms and display electronics. Additionally, we comply with all local municipality energy codes such as Title 24 in California and all energy codes in Washington State when remodeling and opening new locations.
As a company, we have also invested in a state-of-the-art routing system that is helping to optimize the truck routes during the delivery and pick-up process. With this feature, we are able to effectively complete more transactions on the same truck by utilizing the most optimal routes and thereby reduce the driving distance, cutting down on fuel usage and emissions. Additionally, CORT’s new Warehouse Management System (WMS) allows CORT to analyze every aspect of its operation and make necessary adjustments in order to run its business more efficiently and sustainably.
How products are packaged is also a great focus for CORT. Plastic is the most common material used by the furniture industry when it comes to wrapping and protecting a product for delivery. We have worked to reduce shrink wrap usage and instead apply large, reusable rubber bands to keep protective pads attached to furniture for delivery. Additionally, when it comes to the day-to-day acts of environmental responsibility, our districts across the country participate in a recycling program for a variety of materials (i.e., cardboard, paper, plastic) used within the showrooms and distribution centers.
At CORT, we take great pride in identifying ways to be more environmentally responsible across all of our business practices. Employees across the organization are encouraged to find ways, big and small, to make a difference in how they do things to ensure more sustainable and efficient solutions. These best practices are then applied across our more than 100 locations including offices, distribution centers, rental showrooms, and retail furniture outlets across the United States, operations in the United Kingdom, and partners in more than 80 countries around the world. This attention to details in all aspects of the business is what sets CORT apart from just any other furniture rental or furniture sales company. No other furniture rental company can match CORT’s breadth of services and companywide commitment to making a house a home, an office a great place to work, and an event a memorable celebration.