Problems that Petniture is addressing

1. Lack of employment for people diagnosed with Down syndrome: 

  • According to the United Nations, in developing countries, 80% to 90% of people with disabilities of working age are unemployed (United Nations, n.d). 
  • As for the people diagnosed with Down Syndrome, a study done in the United States suggests that only 57% of adults with Down syndrome were employed, and only 3% were full-time paid employees (Kumin, Schoenbrodt, 2015). 

2. Fast furniture’s contribution to climate change and affecting the environment 

  • In the United States alone, consumers discard over 12 million tons of furniture annually reflecting an increase of 450% since 1960 in solid waste, where most discarded furniture ends up in landfills (Maier, 2021).


Location of the problems 

  • Even though the problems are worldwide, our project focuses on local farms, animal owners, and individuals with Down syndrome based in Montreal. 


Petniture’s mission

  • To provide more job opportunities to people diagnosed with Down syndrome as well as decrease the number of furniture thrown away in landfills. 


Petniture’s business model 

  • Instead of competing with the entire furniture industry, Peniture focuses on pet furniture targeting animal owners. 
  • Petniture is a furniture retailer located in Montreal that also offers a cat cafe service where customers can see the furniture on display while observing the interactions between the pets and our products. 
  • Our furniture, being different from the original pet furniture, incorporates animals into human lives with innovative furniture design built upon the original bed, sofa, table, and chair. 


Solving the problems

  • A part of Petniture’s employees would be reserved for people diagnosed with Down syndrome. We will provide specialized training for them to work as both waiters in the cafe section and sales associates in the retailer section. 
  • Instead of going after cheap materials to lower the cost of production, we will use high-quality and sustainable materials from local certified farms increasing the durability of the furniture. 


Approval from field research

  • Higher production costs may incur higher prices compared to competitors, however, based on the results of a survey that we conducted during the field research stage, people are willing to pay higher prices for superior quality and noble causes. 
  • Pet owners, especially, are willing to invest in long-lasting furniture even at higher prices, according to our interviews. 
  • There is a significant number of competitors for pet furniture, however, the number decreases as it comes to high-quality and innovative designs of pet furniture in Quebec. . 


Contribution of our solutions to the United Nations’ sustainable goals

1. Ensure Inclusive and Equitable Quality Education and Promote Lifelong Learning Opportunities for All 

  • Emphasizes inclusivity in employment, offering jobs to everyone regardless of their backgrounds (Sustainable Development Goals, n.d.). 
  • Provides all employees with education and training that are tailored to their needs while ensuring a welcoming environment and a safe space for people to socialize and learn from each other. 

2. Ensure Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns

  • Uses certified sustainable wood from local farms to increase the durability of the products, reduce the use of harmful and cheap materials, and reduce the amount of furniture thrown in landfills
  • Supports local production and transportation to reduce the carbon footprint of the supply chain 
  • Uses clean and renewable energy sources and works with sustainable manufacturing facilities to decrease negative impacts on the environment 
  • Educates customers about the environmental impacts of their purchasing decisions to increase awareness about the harmful impact of fast furniture and mass production
  • Donates 1% of our profits to the “1% for the Planet” Foundation to support initiatives aimed at addressing issues related to mass consumption and climate change. 



Canada, E. a. C. C. (2022). Circular economy.

Canada, E. a. S. D. (2023). Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities. 

Disability and Employment | United Nations enable. (n.d.). 

Kamin, D. (2022). ‘Fast Furniture’ Is Cheap. And Americans Are Throwing It in the Trash.: The mass-produced furniture that sold furiously during the pandemic could soon be clogging landfills. New York Times. Retrieved April 11, 2024, from 

Kumin, L., Schoenbrodt, L. (2015) Employment in Adults with Down Syndrome in the United States: Results from a National Survey. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities. 

Maier, A. (2021). Environmental impacts of fast furniture. In White Paper (p. 02). 

MSN. (n.d.). 

Martin. (2023). Sustainable consumption and production. United Nations Sustainable Development. 

Robinson, R. (2023). The rise of fast furniture: what is it and why should we worry about it? Today’s Homeowner.

SPCA de Montréal | Au service des animaux depuis 1869. (2024, April 11). SPCA De Montréal. 

Sustainable development goals. (n.d.). UNDP. 

Thomas, J. (2019). Down Syndrome: Facts, Statistics, and you. Healthline. 

United Nations Environment Programme. (n.d.). 10 ways you can help fight the climate crisis. UNEP. 

1% for the Planet | Accelerating Environmental Giving. (n.d.).