This article is part of our series "Sustainable Suppliers," a collection of ongoing conversations with the suppliers in our network who are doing their part to create a more sustainable future for our planet.
In 2020, entrepreneurs Nick Arambula, Chris Lee, and Mike Fretto founded Neighbor, an outdoor furniture company with a mission of creating outdoor furniture that has the same high-quality look and feel as indoor furniture. By bringing indoor style to the outdoors, these co-founders set on a path to create comfortable spaces that make every day feel like a special occasion. Neighbor has mindfully considered sustainability since their start and, to this day, continuously works to minimize their environmental impact.
Aaron Whitney, VP of Product at Neighbor, explains, “Right from the beginning, the goal was to create enduring, design-driven, modern outdoor furniture built with the best materials available.” From design to materials, through to shipping, consumers can rest assured that Neighbor is factoring sustainability into their decisions.
Neighbor’s small team designs everything themselves in Phoenix, Arizona, with a focus on modular design that ensures products’ longevity and helps to avoid waste. Many of Neighbor’s designs/products can be repaired or refurbished by replacing only single components. Additionally, by offering customizable options, from choosing the size, shape, or color, customers can effortlessly adapt the furniture to fit their outdoor space perfectly.
Material selection is also fundamental to their process and especially important for outdoor furniture that has to endure a high amount of wear & tear. “We intentionally choose materials like Sunbrella® fabric, sustainably-certified teak wood, and powder-coated aluminum that will last a long time in all weather,” noted Feldman.
Neighbor opts for FSC®-certified solid teak sourced from Vietnam. The Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) certification means that it comes from responsibly managed forests, safeguarding biodiversity and promoting sustainable practices. Neighbor’s teak is kiln-dried for enhanced durability and delivered untreated, allowing it to last longer and age naturally.
Sunbrella® fabric is an integral part of Neighbor’s products – and for good reason. Sunbrella® is not only known for its exceptional quality and durability but also for its commitment to sustainability. Holding GREENGUARD Gold and OEKO-TEX® STANDARD 100 certifications, Sunbrella® ensures that its fabrics are free from harmful chemicals and emissions. Additionally, the company uses 50 percent renewable energy in its production process, maintains a zero waste-to-landfill pledge, and employs water-conserving drying methods to reduce wastewater.
Beyond materials and design, Neighbor also considers sustainability in their shipping practices. The company utilizes flat-pack recyclable packing, which not only protects the furniture during transit but also maximizes the number of boxes that can fit in a shipping truck, minimizing their carbon footprint. Furthermore, Neighbor’s furniture is designed to be easily disassembled and reassembled, minimizing the risk of damage during shipping and making it hassle-free for customers to relocate their furniture to a new space.
From their modular design, to their use of responsibly sourced materials, and eco-conscious shipping practices, Neighbor proves that sustainable practices can go hand in hand with high-quality and beautiful outdoor furniture.