EBRD Assists Moroccan Furniture Manufacturers in Improving Competitiveness and Energy Efficiency
Cooking is a passion that many people like. However, cooking more sustainably, in a "green" kitchen, is another excellent example of an eco-friendly lifestyle.
This is what Flexibois, a Moroccan kitchen furniture maker, provides its consumers. It is one of the first businesses in the country to use wood by-products to produce furniture, thanks to funding from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the European Union (EU), the Green Climate Fund (GCF), and the Republic of Korea.
After years of studying and living in Italy, Flexibois Managing Director Aziz Boukhari envisioned bringing the knowledge and experience he gained in Rome back to his hometown of Casablanca. He began his own business in Morocco, initially as an importer and distributor of furniture, because he was passionate about trendy and stylish furniture. He quickly realised that he needed to alter his company plan.
“You can’t import a predefined model that European or American customers like and then just pass it on to Moroccans,” he says. “Locals consume goods in their own way; they have their own expressions, their own colour preferences.”
As a result, Mr. Boukhari quickly began manufacturing his own furniture, adding over 30 new employees and increasing the company's facilities.
He combines traditional Moroccan design with current European style and manufacturing procedures.
His top objective is to stay informed by providing tailor-made solutions to Moroccan customers and producing high-quality furniture that will last without harming the environment.
“We’re like the fashion industry in that sense,” he says. “We are always the early adopters, trying to offer something new. And because we’re passionate about it, we find that it doesn’t feel like just a job.”
Mr Boukhari wanted to invest in a more sustainable production line and equipment because manufacturing furniture needs a lot of energy and generates a lot of waste. The EBRD helped the company procure two modern machines with extremely efficient electric motors.
Flexibois has saved 37% on energy and lowered its CO2 emissions by 27 tonnes per year thanks to the new machines. They are also safer for employees and reduce waste due to enhanced precision. Furthermore, they have improved product quality by eliminating manufacturing errors.
“We can produce large quantities of goods while also minimising our energy consumption. In other words, we use less energy now because we don’t need lots of machines to carry out different tasks,” says Mr Boukhari.
The EBRD's investment is part of the EU, GCF, and Republic of Korea-funded Green Value Chain (GVC) Morocco credit line. The facility provides funds to partner financial institutions for on-lending to local SMEs operating in value chains for investment in high-performing equipment that leads to energy, water, and resource efficiency.
It also intends to eliminate gender disparities and increase women's access to climate finance, thereby helping to build sustainable markets for a green economy.
Mr. Boukhari's ambition now is to help develop the sector further and provide an example for other Moroccan businesses who want to realise their dreams and complete ambitious projects while remaining environmentally conscious.