Sustainable Maritime Interiors - 2022 Report

127 Interior suppliers The processes involved in outfitting a ship’s interior require compliance with safety and quality standards and industry regulations. For suppliers, it can be a major challenge to provide materials and products that meet the existing required standards, let alone the growing list of new sustainability measures that are becoming critical to future-proof vessels. Among the suggestions received for this report from industry sources is the suggestion that the industry should collaborate to find an easier and cheaper way for suppliers to get IMO certificates, as this would make it much easier to bring new and more sustainable products to market. It would also allow suppliers to invest in a larger range of sustainable products and reduce their cost, so that they can become more affordable. Under pressure from end users and the regulatory framework, suppliers are often in the line of fire for factors that are beyond their control. While they may offer a warranty, the actual performance of their products in situ can vary depending on placement, traffic levels and other aspects of use. New demands for sustainability are testing suppliers still further as they have to scramble to update their inventory. For example, an historic directive from IMO for fabrics to reduce flame spread immediately led to a reduction in available choices for one client from 50,000 fabrics to just three. Resolving issues such as this will require commitment across the supply chain, certainly involving the manufacturers from whom suppliers source their products. Good suppliers can win the trust of clients, who rely on them for information and education regarding the best options for their interiors. It is to suppliers’ advantage to ensure that they are knowledgeable about the most sustainable options. In this way they can help drive the necessary shifts to choices which help their customers meet their sustainability targets and achieve the SDGs. Strategies for suppliers to position themselves as trusted providers of greener products and materials include conducting life cycle analyses on products supplied; expanding catalogues of available materials and solutions classed as sustainable; and implementing sustainability in their purchase terms and conditions for material sourcing and subcontracted work and manufacturing. They can also introduce additional services with their offer, such as regular inspections of the supplied products, along with maintenance and/or recycling of products to extend their life cycle. Investment in R&D is a necessary step for suppliers whose products come from vulnerable ecosystems or whose processing currently uses toxic substances or causes pollution, to find sustainable alternatives. – “Suppliers will give a warranty but it’s very difficult to know how long a product will last. If it’s in the corner of a show lounge it might last 10 years but if it’s in the middle of the atrium it might only last six months.”