People all over the world are turning to environmentally-friendly products and services, seeking to reduce their impact on our planet. Options are limited, however, for people who want their funeral casket to be made in a sustainable way, with sustainable materials.
Windsor Industries has been supporting New Zealanders to say their final farewells with dignity and grace for more than 25 years. Client feedback and a growing environmental consciousness among all staff led the team of casket makers to consider developing eco-friendly products.
Windsor Industries, which has a strong staff culture of environmental care, had already begun developing its sustainable casket range before they discovered the Eco Choice ecolabel.
To gain the Eco Choice accreditation, they had to meet manufacturing criteria that includes the following:
The Furniture, Fittings & Flooring ecolabel also stipulates that Windsor Industries must meet strict health-and-safety guidelines, and reduce waste-to-landfill and power consumption.
To meet the Eco Choice criteria, Windsor set out to identify a sustainable New Zealand timber supplier that could trace its pine back to a plantation. They found the perfect partner in NZ Forest Managers, a specialized contract forest management business that has Forest Stewardship Council certification covering 57,000 hectares of planted forest. In addition to FSC certification, NZ Forest Managers has thorough water, pest control and New Zealand Falcon monitoring systems in place.
To verify that its entire manufacturing process was compliant with the Eco Choice ecolabel, Windsor switched the glue they were using to brands that are non-toxic and water soluble, they also worked with Complete Paints and DBNZ Coatings to source non-toxic water-based stains and sealers.
The team was also delighted to discover that the caskets’ veneer, Prime Panels’ Prime Veneer on MDF, already carried an Eco Choice label. They will be working in the future to ensure that all caskets manufactured with these veneers will meet the full Eco Choice accreditation.
The Windsor team began thinking creatively about how to reduce waste throughout their business. They began encouraging staff to take home offcuts to use as craftwork, and programmed the wood cutting machines to ensure the best use of wood materials. They researched recycling wood dust to make briquettes. This process compresses the wood dust thereby reducing its volume by 85-90%, drastically reducing the amount of waste product going to landfill.
Windsor undertook a health and safety audit and has upskilled staff to ensure there is a safe working environment. Windsor Industries’ work site has qualified for a Health and Safety at Work (Hazardous Substances) Location Compliance Certificate from Enviro Haz. Power saving practices are now integrated into daily work life.
Windsor Industries is the first casket manufacturer in the country to achieve a high standard of environmental accreditation, and the only one to achieve the Eco Choice ecolabel. For customers who care about their environmental impact and sustainability, Windsor’s three Eco Choice-ecolabelled products offer surety that their final arrangements reflect their values.
Those outside the funeral business may not necessarily see the sector as innovative; life and death are, after all, one of our only enduring truths. Yet the leadership team have encouraged a supportive culture of innovation, which has encouraged staff to find new solutions and try new things. Gaining the Eco Choice ecolabel has seen an increase in awareness of environmental practices, and a commitment to planet-friendly products and processes that is driving new thinking towards greater sustainability.
As proof, the team will soon be licensing the Windsor Industries’ Dorset caskets, which use knotty rimu and macrocarpa, both by-products of the timber industry. Windsor Industries has also stopped using packaging, and instead covers in-transit caskets with reusable blankets.
The team supports Trees that Count by buying native trees that are donated to families who buy a solid timber casket. In the longer term, the team has made the decision to move away from medium-density fibreboard (MDF) to sustainable pine.
The Windsor staff believe that gaining the Eco Choice label reflects the high standards the team sets for themselves in production and design. They seek to understand what people are looking for, both for themselves and their loved ones, when it comes to their funeral arrangements. Even through a difficult time, there is some comfort in knowing that options for caskets are available that reflect a loved one’s values. Windsor Industries is proud to be able to offer this range to New Zealanders.
Makers of beautiful caskets, New Zealand-owned manufacturer Windsor Industries has achieved Eco Choice Aotearoa’s (EC-32-17) Furniture, Fittings & Flooring ecolabel for its Waterford Eco Range. The range includes three types of casket, all made from sustainable New Zealand pine and macrocarpa, with a ply base.