Interview with TCM Group

Sustainable kitchen solutions in Scandinavia

“We create better kitchen environments for the heart of your home”

The TCM Group is Scandinavia’s third largest kitchen manufacturer, with its headquarters in Denmark and sells in approximately 140 stores across Scandinavia. The TCM Group pursues a multi-brand strategy, are behind the brands Svane Køkkenet, Tvis Køkken, Nettoline and a private label, but also in the ecommerce kitchen sector. The product range includes kitchen, bathroom and storage solutions, designed and produced in Denmark. Manufacturing is carried out in-house and on demand. Approximately 90 percent of the raw materials used in production are manufactured within Europe, using a local supply chain. We spoke to Sustainability Manager Malene Karstoft about the strategy and implementation of sustainability projects within the TCM Group.

Mrs Karstoft, as one of the largest kitchen manufacturers on the Scandinavian market, you exert considerable influence on the topic of sustainability. To what extent is the TCM Group a pioneer for the industry?

We are very conscious about the fact that kitchens are consumer products. Due to this reason and by producing kitchens, we are encouraging consumers to buy products. As the most sustainable solution is not to produce anything at all we need to find right balance. At the TCM Group the key is our strategic ESG-mindset “RE:DUCE – RE:USE – RE:THINK”:

RE:DUCE is about reducing the overall material usage and lowering the carbon footprint.

RE:USE is to increase recycled material content in the materials that we use, our processes and the way we interact with the customers.

RE:THINK is rethinking how and what we produce, aiming for sustainability and balance in all aspects of our business. Challenging traditions, norms, and materials as we move forward.

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Malene Karstoft, Sustainability Manager TCM Group

Where exactly are you active in this area?

Responsibility and sustainability have always been a part of the way we conduct our business: Responsibility towards the environment, responsibility towards customers and responsibility towards our employees as well as stakeholders. 

The TCM Group has been a signatory member of the UN Global Compact for more than a decade and actively works with UN sustainable development goals. It is therefore very natural for us to think in this way.

Our ESG strategy is integrated in our business and product strategy. One of our focus areas is the effect, our products have on the indoor climate of people homes. This is because we know that people spend more than 90 percent of their time indoors and as our products are located indoors, it is important to ensure that our products do not contribute to a poor indoor atmosphere. Therefore all our products are certified according to Danish Indoor Climate. Whenever we make any changes to the raw materials, our products are certified externally to make sure that we continuously improve in this respect.

To support the balance of producing new kitchens, we work to ensure that they are of high quality and have a very long service life. One way to ensuring this is to work with the right raw materials and suppliers as well assuring that the products can be repaired, reused and upgraded to fit the modern way of living.

Is there an active demand for sustainable kitchens by the market? 

Especially from the contract market there is an increased focus on especially documented and certified products. For us, it is about being responsible and thinking about the next generation and being transparent about the products that we offer to the market. We are constantly challenging ourselves – it is part of our design DNA. 

You created a product line called “INFINITY”? What is it about?

A clear focus area for us is to work with a circular product design. The first product line for which we have re-thought our traditional ways of making products is the product line “INFINITY”.

At the beginning of 2022, we set out to create a genuinely circular product, embracing as many details and materials as possible. Our research and development resources have worked all year to make this happen, and the result is our new product “INFINITY”.

In “INFINITY” a minimum of 90 percent of the chipboard is made up of crushed industrial waste and waste from recycling stations and the remaining 10 percent from fast-growing nursery trees. Both waste and chipboards are sourced and produced locally. Lastly, INFINITY is fitted with the RAUKANTEX evo edgeband. This product is a new type of PP ISSC-certified edgeband based on validated and certified non-fossil raw materials (min. 50 percent). INFINITY is both a fully circular product that can be recycled repeatedly and an important step on our journey to more entirely circular product ranges.

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This sounds perfect. How did REHAU convince you with the RAUKANTEX evo concept? 

One of the most vulnerable areas on a kitchen front is the edgeband, consequently it is very important to us to use a durable method to cover this components. We have had good experiences working with REHAU. And with the evo edgeband, based on certified non-fossil ingredients, they offer a great edgeband solution that corresponds to the journey that we are on.

How actively was REHAU involved in the run-in processes of the sustainable program lines in your production?

For our product line INFINITY we have had the ambition to show the nature of the raw material underneath the paint. Because of the nature of the raw material, every INFINITY kitchen has a very unique and individual colour. REHAU was very much involved in creating an edgeband that supports the unique visual identity of the surface in a very natural way.

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How did you approach your customers regarding this particular sustainable product line?

In Denmark we have very strict rules on how to communicate sustainable products to avoid greenwashing. Transparency is very important to us. INFINITY was launched with a completely different imagery and story universe than we traditionally use to communicate kitchens. We have focused on telling a fact-based story with focus on transparency. 

In Denmark kitchens are considered part of the building. With an increased focus on sustainable buildings and focus from investors and banks to only finance sustainable building, there is a massive increase in sustainable building schemes such as DGNB. The scheme and the system are similar to what you are doing in Germany, but the requirements follow the Danish building standard and codes. There has been extremely positive feedback about how INFINITY supports sustainable building schemes such as DGNB.

INFINITY is only the first step on the journey that we are on.

Engineering progress

Enhancing lives

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