Championing Green Frontiers Through Sustainable Craftsmanship

Disruptr speaks to the Green Carpenter, Harith Ridzuan who shares with us his journey on changing mindsets, ensuring The Green Factory gives back to the community and his hope for the upcoming generation

Multiple reports and coverages have been written about the journey Harith undertook to transform his decades old family business of manufacturing furniture into the example-setting sustainably-driven, The Green Factory. This time around he speaks on the challenges he has faced on changing mindsets, the need to give back and why he is here to stay

“I started as young as 11 years old, observing my dad and helping out at the factory while other kids were away on a holiday. There were no regrets and I enjoyed every bit of the time I had spent helping out. Even after studying, I took up carpentry classes and decided to try out full-time for the experience of it,” says Harith Ridzuan, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, The Green Factory.

While the training and onsite exposure proved to be useful, what tilted his passion to pursue a more sustainable path were statistics highlighting Malaysia’s involvement in deforestation and a wider outlook on the industry as a whole.

Harith shares that the timber industry in Malaysia had contributed greatly to the country’s economy however it was not sustainable in the long run. In addition to the industry being competitive. His interest in the industry kept him going but he was keen on changing things up as well.

“That’s when I decided I wanted to pursue a more sustainable path and we decided to adopt of saving the world one step at a time, making sure that everything we do in the process, no matter how small contributes to making the world better,” he says.

And so it began, his mission to save the world, one step at a time.

Today, The Green Factory is a PEFC-certified manufacturer (an internationally-recognised certification for forest management), ensuring that the company are able to source for wood that comes from sustainably managed forests.

According to Harith, close to 30% of Malaysia’s forests are certified under the PEFC forest certification programme however much of the local certified timber are commonly exported. He also further shares that The Green Factory aims to make locally-sourced certified wood products more accessible to Malaysians as well as regional and global consumers.

Challenging Misconceptions and Giving Back

The future is youth. That is a statement we often hear and to many industries, that is an impactful statement. For Harith and his team, challenging misconceptions and raising awareness has to go beyond just partnering up with corporates.

It begins with the youth.

“I think in terms of engaging with the youth, it’s a challenging task. The industry is a 3D industry, its dangerous, difficult and some people say demeaning, but it’s also an industry which is deterring people from entering the business,” he points out. “And so, we started by working on our 3Ds.”

An upcycling demo

At The Green Factory, the team adopts a Proactive Green System (PGS), a circular approach to manufacturing that covers each aspect of their production chain from ethical sourcing, green design, and non-toxic coatings, to waste management, green building elements, in-house culture and outreach initiatives.

The company in support of United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals are also advocates for Goal 12: Responsible consumption and production. This is fairly evident in the activism stance both the brand and Harith has adopted in the last decade, both championing and ensuring the adoption of sustainable practices in the local wood industry.

“Our work with corporates also goes beyond just ticking their ESG compliance box. It’s about educating. Through our workshops, our partners get to learn and educate one another and we ensure that in everything we do, its something they get to take home and continue practicing,” Harith tells Disruptr.

His efforts to educate on green activism also functions beyond workshops and partnerships. Harith is keen on giving back and training the next generation of Green Carpenters. At The Green Factory, the company employs up to 20 students, who are then stationed in various departments learning new skills as they go.

While not all 20 stay, Harith says even one that makes a change in the industry, whether they choose to stay in The Green Factory or establish on their own is a win.

What’s Next?

“In a way, we have managed to carve ourselves a niche business. We have expanded beyond just green furniture, but also into green homeware, recycled furniture and much more. We have also received requests from Hotels looking to adopt a green lifestyle not just in their operations but also the way they appeal to customers,” he says.

Harith shares that the green business revenue has shot up by a massive 600% last year and he is looking to fundraise to increase capacity and market share. In the previous round, the team successfully raised RM3 Million but was limited to high net-worth individuals investing round RM50,000 to RM100,000 each.

This time around, Harith wants to their next phase of growth to be community-driven, where individuals can join in as an early investor with as little as RM250.

The Green Factory is utilising Leet Capital’s ECF platform to ensure a convenient process for individuals looking to invest.  To be part of their growth, check out here.

“We also see ourselves aiming for an IPO in 2026 or 2027, and while we started out as a family business, we have become more of a public entity and I believe through an IPO, I can keep the company going even longer,” he shares.

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