Interview with Rotpunkt Küchen

Green kitchen(s) for the heart AND an ecological future

"We take our aim of producing the "greenest kitchen in Germany" very seriously."

What was founded in 1930 as a box factory by Heinrich Rabe and Wilhelm Meyer under the name "Rabe & Meyer" is now an internationally active manufacturer of kitchen and home furniture in the premium segment. Rotpunkt Küchen is growing - not least thanks to trade relations all over the world. Andreas Wagner, Managing Director of Rotpunkt Küchen since 2013, provides insights into how it is possible to manufacture kitchens and home furniture efficiently and successfully in Germany, even under difficult market conditions. He also tells us why sustainable solutions are an important part of this success.

Mr Wagner, there is no end to the flood of negative news and the economic environment has been getting tougher for years. Nevertheless, your company was able to keep sales stable in 2023. In your opinion, what is Rotpunkt Küchen's recipe for success?

A key part of our success is probably the size of our company and our export focus, which accounts for around 80%. We are able to react very quickly to changes, trends and the needs of our customers. These factors also make it possible for us to focus on specific areas. The purchasing interests of customers in the Scandinavian countries or Benelux, for example, are already much more focussed on sustainability. We respond to this and always have our finger on the pulse of the times.

In the kitchen industry, we primarily think of marketing arguments such as high-quality design, comfort solutions or modern lighting concepts. Why are you also focussing on sustainability and durability?

Sustainability is basically already integrated into all of these areas. If you think about lighting, for example, economical LEDs have long been a part of it. Or look at the raw materials sector: the strictest requirements for wood-based materials apply in Japan. The measure of all things there is emission class F**** (F Four Star), whose limit value is far below that of emission class E1. Products certified in accordance with JIS A 5905 F**** (Japanese Industrial Standard) release around 2/3 less formaldehyde into their environment. We rely on this certification for our chipboard. Our greenline BioBoard Gen2 is made from up to 90 per cent recycled wood.

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Andreas Wagner, Managing Director of Rotpunkt Küchen

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So for you, sustainability is not a separate buzzword, but a clear mission at all levels. In your opinion, what are the other components of "green production"?

In addition to the raw materials and materials used and the use of green electricity, our own production waste also plays an important role. We incinerate the chips that accumulate during production. And when our products leave the production line, our efforts do not stop there. For example, we reward our drivers who manage to reduce the diesel consumption of their vehicles by adopting a defensive driving style. But our commitment goes even further: we support well-being in the workplace through a company healthcare programme and offer our employees an e-bike leasing scheme, for example.

In addition to the use of materials, the utilisation of production waste and a healthy working environment for employees, the components play a key role in the holistic sustainability approach. Do you also take a closer look here?

Nowadays, we take a closer look everywhere and consider how material efficiency can be improved. When I think back to the beginning of my career, we had edge overlaps of 5 cm. Today we are at around 3 mm, which of course means less waste and therefore more resource conservation.

Sustainable edgebands: You might think that these are only marginal components of a piece of furniture. What makes the RAUKANTEX eco edgebands from REHAU so special for you that you decided to switch to them last year?

When we use sustainable chipboard, we have to think about the entire component and can't stop at the edgeband. In my opinion, this is also the clear expectation of every end user. The RAUKANTEX eco edgebands fit in with our holistic approach and therefore also with us. In addition, REHAU has decades of experience in the production of edgebanding and is therefore a reliable partner for such projects.

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Are your customers willing to pay more for a sustainable kitchen?

To be honest: not for individual kitchen components, but definitely for a sustainable kitchen. Nowadays, customers want to know where their furniture comes from, how it is made and how long it will last. Manufacturers need to be serious and put their money where their mouth is. We take our intention to produce the "greenest kitchen in Germany" very seriously and our customers honour this.

Thank you for taking the time.

Engineering progress

Enhancing lives

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