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  • Writer's pictureBait Al-Amanah

Woodworking for the Planet: How The Green Factory is Redefining Sustainability in Carpentry

When Bait Al Amanah (House of Trust) launched the project on ‘Exploring Local Sustainable Practices’, the goal was clear: to engage with local issues, local communities, and local environment, and to drive transformative action towards sustainable development. This initiative aimed at bridging the gap between theoretical knowledge and real-world experiences that accelerate the understanding in and progress towards sustainability. Experiential learning is vital to learn and understand sustainability from the very heart of it, that is by being at the place where it all begins.


And what better way to launch the project than by delving into the realm of local carpentry businesses  committed to sustainability. It was during this endeavor that we engaged The Green Factory (TGF), Malaysia's trailblazing manufacturer of sustainable wood products. TGF operates on a circular model, prioritizing eco-friendly practices across every aspect of timber production, including material sourcing, design, construction, efficiency, waste management, and educational outreach. At the helm of this pioneering venture is Harith Ridzuan, whose dedication to green manufacturing and sustainable woodworking spans over a decade.



Harith's philosophy is simple yet profound: “We are now living in an era where we have enough knowledge to make money, and at the same time, contribute to making the world better. But, my main focus is businesses to adopt sustainability”.


Since its inception in 2012, TGF has been on a mission to revolutionize traditional carpentry, reducing factory-generated wood waste from 30% to a mere 5%. This achievement is attributed to their meticulous sorting of wood residue, creating value from offcuts, shavings, and non-conforming products.


The significance of wood in human history cannot be overstated. However, the advent of alternative materials has often led to the neglect of timber's sustainability. This issue was brought to the forefront at COP28, where discussions highlighted the dire consequences of irresponsible development on our climate and ecosystems. The alarming reality of millions of acres of rainforest being decimated to meet the demand for tropical woods underscored the urgency of addressing these environmental challenges. 


This is where Harith and his team are leading the charge for change. By sourcing wood from PEFC-certified or sustainable forests, along with upcycled and plantation wood, including rubberwood, the Green Factory crafts furniture and wood-based products that prioritize eco-friendliness and minimize environmental impact.


At the Green Factory, every aspect of green manufacturing and commitment to responsible sustainable practices is carefully considered. This includes ethical sourcing, green design, and efficient waste management, all integrated into their innovative Proactive Green System. As expressed by Menlin Ng, a promising young designer at TGF, “Aesthetic is not everything; when creating something, it's crucial to ensure it holds value and serves a purpose. Consider the product's lifecycle—is it sustainable? If it deteriorates, is it environmentally sound?” It is truly inspiring to witness someone of her age prioritizing conscious design, aiming for products that are versatile, durable, and have minimal environmental impact.


Shaping Circular Economies: The Green Factory’s Vision



Instead of discarding materials destined for overcrowded landfills, the Green Factory is persistently exploring inventive avenues to give waste a renewed purpose. During our initial visit to the Green Factory, Harith showcased a sizable wooden window piece, likely a piece from a previous structure. Here, discarded items are skillfully repurposed, transformed into fresh creations with ingenuity and creativity. 


The advantages of reclaimed woods are many, as Harith explains to us. Among them is the utilization of old-growth wood, a resource no longer available for purchase or extraction. This allows for the acquisition of top-tier quality wood through environmentally conscious means.


Saving the World, One Piece at A Time: Green Activism 


During our subsequent visit to the Green Factory, we were honored to participate in the MERDEKAPENTER Open Day, where we gained invaluable insights into their manufacturing processes and witnessed firsthand the creation of their exceptional products. The event drew a diverse community, ranging from youngsters to adults, all eager to engage and learn about sustainable manufacturing practices. Notably, the green ethos of the factory was palpable in the design of its expansive 13,000 sq ft space, which maximizes natural sunlight and incorporates rainwater harvesting features.



What is truly impressesing, the Green Factory's dedication in showing respect to the environment, extending beyond manufacturing practices to encompass widespread awareness and adoption of sustainable principles. Through ongoing educational initiatives, they empower diverse communities with knowledge, emphasizing the collective potential for impactful change. Their commitment reflects a belief in the power of collaboration to effect significant environmental progress.


The Green Factory, as articulated on their website, aspires to become the driving force behind the local sustainable industry, fostering an environment where diversity thrives. In line with this vision, they have pledged a steadfast commitment to creating more opportunities for women and youth to immerse themselves in this burgeoning sector. Through initiatives such as their Teaching Factory and forthcoming Cottage Industry programs, The Green Factory endeavors to not only empower individuals but also to shape a more inclusive and dynamic landscape within the sustainable industry.



As we conclude our immersive journey into the Green Factory's approach to sustainable practices within the timber industry, we have delved deep into every aspect of their eco-conscious ethos. It is through this experiential learning that we have come to fully appreciate the profound significance encapsulated in their official motto, "saving the world, one piece at a time." Far from being mere words, it serves as a guiding principle, illuminating their unwavering commitment to environmental stewardship and the responsible utilization of our precious natural resources.


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Let’s inspire others towards building a more sustainable community.

Interested to be part of this initiative or to learn more? Drop us a line.


Abel Benjamin, Head of Sustainability Impact (abel@baitalamanah.com)

Haniss Haidi, Research & Advocacy Analyst (hanissfarhaina@baitalamanah.com)


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