Harith Green Carpenter | Disrupting the Status Quo
Harith Green Carpenter (HGC) came about at a time when green furniture was still somewhat unheard of in Malaysia but by the early 2010s, the trend for upcycled furniture was gradually catching wind in our corner of the world.
As the cafe culture wave began sweeping the urban landscape of Klang Valley and other urban areas across the country, Harith Ridzuan (the man behind the brand and founder of The Green Factory), took on projects that allowed him to experiment with designing interior settings for restaurants, cafes and retail outlets using furniture made from construction waste.
A collection HGC's earlier green products between 2013-2015, taken at Harith's old factory in Sungai Buloh.
A moment of reflection
Around this time, Harith had already spent a handful of years working for his family's 20-year old woodworking business. As the eldest in the family, it was his destiny to eventually lead the company as a second-generation woodworker. But as he got more involved in the sourcing & manufacturing side of the business, he noticed a lot of unsustainable practices being carried out right under his nose, which was the pivoting reason for why he delved into greener manufacturing.
An excerpt from his personal blog sheds light on what drove him to change his company's direction:
"It was a time of reflection and confusion in my life as I began to notice a lot of challenges within the industry, [...] the 3 issues that kept me awake at night:
1. There is a lot of waste being created by the wood industry
2. Poor monitoring of material sourcing in the local industry has created a negative perception among developed countries towards Malaysia’s sourcing of timber and management of forests.
3. Illegal logging and land management
From my findings, what I found was injustice."
So thus began his upcycling journey in 2012, starting with furniture that had a raw, industrial appeal. What set him apart from other woodworkers also experimenting with upcycled furniture, however, was his team's experienced workmanship and the industrial machines they had on hand. This enabled them to create a more refined look when working with old and used wood. He was able to process discarded wood to look like new, a technique that would eventually catch the attention of affluent clients as well as corporations seeking sustainable alternatives with good-looking aesthetics and quality workmanship.
Wall feature & furniture made from upcycled wood for fine-dining restaurant, Symphony
A man with a mission
As demand for green products grew, his family business naturally gravitated towards adopting the green concept and it is today the core identity of the company. But one company can only do so much. In order to save the earth from injustice, what's required is for the green concept to extend to a larger scale - across industries and nationwide regions.
Harith has made it his life's work to advocate for green manufacturing and sustainable living - firstly by setting an example of how it can be done, and secondly by creating a dialogue with carpenters, designers, architects, communities, consumers, and industry leaders about the need to go green.
With big dreams to fulfill, what HGC ultimately hopes to achieve is to have every Malaysian on board in this largely significant journey of making Malaysia a global hub for sustainable products.