One difficult thing about having a conscience is that even when you have decided to do the right thing, it is hard to know what choice is right! When confronted with this complexity, it is easy to throw up your hands and make a quick decision, based on the best information you have at the time. You cannot always find the FSC logo conveniently stamped on your furniture:
Therefore one of our jobs as a green interior designer, is getting people to make environmentally sensitive choices in their interior design and furnishings purchases, and explaining clearly what ARE good choices.
Luckily we have some great partners in making those choices clear. I have written about the Sustainable Furnishings council and their #GetYourGreenOn contest previously, and was lucky enough to win last year. They work to educate both manufacturers and consumers on making green choices.
One of their biggest goals is to educate the furniture industry on how they can do better in sourcing the raw materials used in furniture. It is not a huge surprise that most furniture is made with wood. Making sure the wood in furniture is ethically sourced is especially important considering that the furnishings industry ranks as the third largest consumer of wood after the construction and paper industries. Furniture also is a large consumer of the beautiful exotic hardwoods, which are more likely to be poached out of a natural forest than construction wood.
The SFC has launched a new wood score card, in partnership with the National Wildlife Federation. The Wood Furniture Scorecard was developed to promote good forest management, based on an understanding that the furniture industry might, knowingly or not, be using illegally logged and otherwise unsustainably produced wood within their complex supply chains. It assesses wood sourcing policies for over 50 of the largest furniture retailers in North America. Published on a dedicated website, the scorecard covers publicly available information on how companies source virgin wood. It also evaluates company use of recycled and reclaimed wood.
So check out the Wood Furniture Score Card, it is a good source of information. And consider patronizing only those retailers that are making a strong effort to do the right thing. Knowledge makes it easier to make good, responsible choices.