Sustainable for over 50 years
Sustainability means, among other things, focusing on the material and its origin – for Richter Spielgeräte this is focusing on wood.
For us, wood is a part of our life, and if you think more globally, certainly an indispensable part of humanity.
Wood has wonderful properties. It is warm, it smells good, it is easy to process, it is alive and has accompanied people since time immemorial. Every human reacts to wood and this reaction is actually always positive and highly emotional.
Besides the physical and sensory properties mentioned above, wood has a great advantage over other materials, which is why we feel that there is no alternative. "It regrows without help and is available in our region of this world."
We now live in times in which the first thing we discuss when selecting products is what CO2 footprint something leaves behind in order to show that resource conservation, environmental protection and climate change have become important for us humans.
These things were already important to us fifty years ago when we started working, even though they were not on everybody’s lips at the time, my grandmother realised even then that treating nature and raw materials with respect must be a central aspect of our work. That's why back then we made our equipment from by-products (waste) from the sawmills and from wildly overgrown branches of fruit trees and hardwoods. Only when the demand became greater and the company grew did we introduce impregnated spruce and fir palisades, a material component that was available on a larger scale – but it has always been wood from sustainable forestry.
Today the term ‘sustainable forestry’ is used everywhere and even timber giants, who harvest and trade millions and millions of cubic metres internationally, often refer to themselves as sustainable companies. What they mean by this is that they do not take more from the forests than will grow back naturally and that they largely comply with the laws and regulations.
For us however, sustainability is much more than that.
We buy our wood from farmers in the mountainous region of Austria, that starts just one hour away from our premises. In addition to the fact that Austria embodied the principles of sustainable forestry in its laws at an early stage, it is crucial that these farmers have always managed their farms in ways that comply with the principle of sustainability to the highest degree. Some of the farms were started centuries ago and passed down from generation to generation, so it is a matter of course that they are managed in such a way that the next generation has a healthy basis. For the forests, this means that only individual trees or small areas are ever used for forestry and that the growth is always greater than the removal. Another positive aspect is that the methods of this approach to farming are very similar to the way we work. Harvesting is done on a small scale and is mostly machine-supported. Individual trees are planted, tended and finally harvested.
And it is precisely this wood, felled by many farmers in the region, that is our main material, and it fits perfectly with our company philosophy.
Text: Julian Richter