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This is a sponsored article from Sustainable Choice verified member Responsible Wood.
People’s choices are now, more than ever, being guided by sustainability. We want more solar energy and less coal. We want electric vehicles. This shift in mindset is also occurring in the furniture world, with customers now wanting to know that the items they put in their homes are sustainably made. Companies are also taking this into consideration, searching for sustainable office furniture.
Our forests are a precious resource, which is why the idea of sustainable furniture is so appealing. So, how exactly do you know if furniture is sustainable?
For many years, companies have been telling customers their furniture is sustainably made. However, in the past, this has meant a variety of things. For example, a company may reduce their carbon emissions in a factory but still not use certified sustainable timber for their products.
Ideally, sustainable furniture is made by a company that has gained Responsible Wood certification to ensure that timber is sourced and managed ethically at every step of the supply chain. For example, timber is sourced from a sustainably managed forest. Some other key things to look for include:
– Use of biodegradable materials
– Non-toxic lacquers and stains
– Use of recycled or reclaimed materials
– Carbon-friendly manufacturing processes
– High-quality products
This last point is particularly important because cheap, disposable furniture often ends up in landfills. Buying quality products that are durable and you can keep for many, many years is a much more sustainable way to purchase.
Now that you know what sustainable furniture is, how do you find it? You might be surprised there are many different ways you can find sustainable products. Here are just a few.
Your first step when looking for furniture is to ask questions. If you’re shopping in local stores, ask the salespeople to tell you about their sustainability processes. Do they source timber from ethically managed forests? Do they hold any certifications to prove their commitment to sustainable furniture in Australia?
If a company is committed to sustainable furniture practices, the staff in their stores should know all about this. If not, ask them to find out for you. This actually helps in two ways. Not only does it ensure you only buy sustainable furniture for your home or office, but it also makes furniture manufacturers and retailers take notice.
If the majority of customers are asking for sustainable timber furniture but they don’t stock any, that means they’re losing sales. No company wants that, so you can influence them to change by simply asking questions.
Perhaps the easiest way to find out whether the furniture is sustainable is to look for the Responsible Wood logo. This means the timber used to make the furniture is from a certified, sustainably managed forest.
These forests are ethically managed in a way that ensures they will be there for generations to come. When trees are harvested for use, they are replanted or regrow naturally and are managed in such a way that they thrive. It may sound counterintuitive to buy more wood products in order to save forests, but by choosing Responsible Wood-certified items, you’re actually helping to stop deforestation.
Steer clear of non-renewable products, and instead, look for the Responsible Wood logo.
Another thing you may want to consider when purchasing furniture is how they package and ship items. This is moving away from the timber itself, but it’s still important from an environmental point of view.
Firstly, you can look at the shipping and delivery companies that a furniture retailer partners with. Do those companies have a sustainability goal in place? What are they doing to reduce their emissions? Secondly, consider how the furniture is packaged. Flat-packed furniture takes up far less space, meaning that shipping containers can be packed more efficiently. This can help to reduce the transport impacts such as fuel.
You may not be able to find an entire supply chain that is completely eco-friendly, but it’s worth doing your research. When everybody makes an effort, more is being done to protect our planet. To find out more about responsibly sourced timber and sustainable furniture in Australia, visit Verified Member Responsible Wood’s sustainability profile today.