With the smallest ecological footprint possible, we forge a path to excellence, crafting the heirlooms of the future whilst protecting the natural world that surrounds us.
Here at Tom Raffield a responsible and sustainable approach is at the heart of everything we do. As a design-led brand, crafting functional pieces with long lasting quality, sustainability has always been our goal.
But great design is about more than just the products we make. Sustainability is the bedrock of our business and binds our ecological processes, nature-inspired designs and the culture of our team.
“I truly believe that sustainability should be synonymous with good design, much like quality and function are, and that this is the answer to over-consumption and the environmental challenges we face. It’s fantastic to see consumer expectations changing to recognise this too and I hope sustainable design principles will become more widely adopted by leading designers as time goes on”.
- Tom Raffield, Founder.
Built to last with nothing wasted.
Crafting heirlooms of the future, we’re committed to making superior quality pieces that are loved, used and stand the test of time. At every point in our process we are driven by longevity, responsibility, and doing what’s right. We tend not to follow and conform to current trends; we aim to create timeless pieces that our customers will cherish over the years. The necessity of producing quality, durable designs informs every new brief and has always been at the core of what we do.
Steam bending - Steam bending drives our passion for sustainable design and informs the aesthetic of every creation we make. Today our designers and craftsmen continue to push the bar using this timeless technique to create our iconic lighting, furniture and eye-catching spaces. Time consuming, a little unpredictable and labour-intensive, steam bending tends not to be commercially viable for large-scale production. However, this low energy and ecological method of manipulating wood reaps beautiful, memorable results that don't cost the earth.
Energy – Low is the right way to go when it comes to the energy needed to make our products. Drawing on techniques that are altogether friendlier towards the environment, such as steam bending and naturally air-drying our timber, we’re able to lessen our impact on the very thing that inspires us – the natural world. In our workshop, we use dry construction processes with screws and staples, keeping glue use to a minimum.
Waste - Our process is designed to protect and prevent damage to our natural environment, and our efficient design process means that very little waste is created. For example, the hoop of our Kern Pendant is also used in our Harlyn Mirror, which helps reduce the probability of wood wastage. The waste wood we cannot reuse in our steam bent designs is donated to local companies. We currently work with two small companies in a ten-mile radius of our base - a local toy maker and a community platform for gardeners to grow their own food, who recycle waste wood to create seed dibbers and small gardening tools. Any other wooden off cuts that are not re-purposed are stored for our team to use for personal projects or heat their homes.
Aside from wood, our team work collaboratively to keep our overall energy consumption to a minimum. Being an eco-conscious business naturally attracts an internal interest in reducing environmental impact, and we run a number of campaigns that span the year including our (#sustainabilityseries) that help promote environmental awareness.
We strive to source materials and services from the closest possible suppliers to reduce their carbon footprint and support the local economy.
Wood - From branch to bench and trunk to table, wood is at the heart of everything we do – so we make sure we source it the right way. We’re committed to using sustainably sourced timber from responsibly managed forests, weighing up credentials, carbon footprints and woodland techniques to inform what we buy and where. We handcraft all of our steam bent product range and large-scale bespoke projects exclusively from sustainably sourced PEFC wood.
Fabric - Our furniture pieces are covered using only 100% natural upholstered fabrics. We work alongside one of the last upright wool mill companies in the UK, Abraham Moon & Sons. The British company exclusively manufacture sustainable, recyclable fabrics - mainly high-quality wool derived from free range, pasture fed, and ethically reared sheep – and help to support independent farms who showcase the best farming practices. The sheepskin rugs we retail are the product of native Devon and Cornwall long-wool sheep and sustainably produced to the highest quality.
Packaging – Here at Tom Raffield we are always seeking new and innovative ways of packaging our goods. All of our packaging is designed in house which ensures that each and every box we dispatch is considered, secure and traceable back to its source. Tom Raffield packaging is 99% plastic free with the last component of plastic due to be abolished within the next few months. Cardboard is, and has always been, used to package goods ready for dispatch as well as recycled papers (for our product instructions and care guides), labels and bespoke-made packaging by local Cornish company, Flexi-hex – all of which is widely recyclable and compostable. Furthermore, Tom Raffield are proudly part of a pack share initiative which focuses on reusing packaging materials and sharing surplus stocks to ensure nothing goes to waste
We believe in providing great opportunities for future generations.
We pride ourselves on being able to create new careers and job roles in a rural part of the UK. We run an apprenticeship scheme and currently have two trainee apprentices in our workshop learning new crafts.
We are proud to be one of 6,000 employers across the UK who have volunteered and committed to pay a Real Living Wage to our team, independently circulated to be enough for employees, and their families, to live on.
We're a climate positive workforce, partnering with Ecologi to offset our employees' carbon footprint, including emissions from their home, personal travel, holidays, food, hobbies and more. In return, Ecologi plant trees to restore healthy forests around the globe and fund the world’s best climate crisis solutions.
At Tom Raffield, we work with small local suppliers whenever possible. This helps the local economy and allows us to find the most sustainable, highest quality materials. Forging long-lasting, strong, ethical relationships with our suppliers and partners ensures we know exactly where the materials we use in our manufacturing process are sourced from. In turn, this means we get an accurate understanding of the material's carbon footprint.
Beyond our workshop, we’re working closely with colleges and universities in Cornwall to nurture talent and keep it local. Investing in apprenticeships and internships, we’re building a new generation of skilled designers and craftspeople who share our ethos and are committed to doing things well.
Furthermore, we are proud to work alongside an award winning Social Enterprise that supports thousands of people with disabilities and other disadvantages move into employment across the UK each year. Our partnership has allowed people with varying long term health conditions and illnesses to learn woodwork skills, engage with new processes and earn a salary to support themselves.
Our Tom Raffield team have also committed to the UN Global Compact corporate responsibility initiative, this means that we are constantly striving to become more active in our local community to support environmental charities and groups.
Surrounded by the natural beauty of the Cornish landscape we feel passionate about our location and preserving the environment that inspires us.
Everything produced by the Tom Raffield team is handcrafted locally at our BREEAM Excellent workshop and studios in Cornwall, UK using the age-old process of steam bending – a low energy method requiring only water and heat.
Renewable energy is sourced from solar panels on the Tom Raffield workshop and any additional energy comes from a 100% renewable supplier who invest in future technologies.
Our team actively take part in local beach cleans and tree planting activities, working alongside Tevi Cornwall and other like-minded businesses to create a greener environment.