Reducing environmental impact is a priority for all responsible furniture manufacturers and sellers. Fortunately, it’s relatively easy to update most practices for a more positive environmental outcome. Options for manufacturers include reducing solvent use or switching to less polluting water-based options; using only wood from sustainable forests or plantations; and cutting back on unnecessary packing materials. Stores (and their customers) can help reduce air pollution by choosing to buy locally rather than flying furnishings in from abroad.
Not content to just reduce their emissions, these companies are going one step further and aiming for zero impact.
Canada’s Huppe uses only Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified sustainable wood to build its furniture. The Huppe factory features state of the art anti-pollution technologies, including a heat exchanger that heats the space while slashing gas use and emissions; eight infrared thermoreactors bake finished pieces dry and evaporate solvents into harmless water and carbon dioxide. Huppe exceeds voluntary industry standards by using formaldehyde-free glues and paints with low volatile organic components, and aims to completely eliminate solvent vapors.
If you’re going green but can’t stand the thought of giving up European furniture, you’ll be relieved to hear that Italian brand Jesse boasts strong environmental credentials. Its certifications include the ISO 14000-04 for environmental management and the Singapore Green Label for eco-friendly raw materials.
Also in Italy, Gamma sources all its leather from Dani, the first tannery in the world environmentally friendly enough to achieve Carbon Footprint certification. Dani takes a scientific approach to reducing its environmental impact, and its current status is the result of ten years of research in partnership with universities, research centres and laboratories. Its leather is free of chrome and heavy metals, and each square metre of leather produced releases a relatively low 10kg of CO2. The company compensates for its remaining emissions through reforestation projects in partnership with an accredited energy service company. Dani also invests in renewable energy and technologies that reduce waste during production.
Vermont’s Copeland Furniture has collected multiple awards for its environmental performance. The company sources all its hardwood within 500 miles of the factory, keeping transport emissions low and ensuring that the forests in question are legal and well-managed. The Copeland factory is heated entirely by waste wood and packaging waste is reduced since they installed their own boxmaker. Anything left over is recycled rather than going to landfill. The default or standard finish is low-emission GREENGUARD varnish, and, like Huppe, Copeland continues to work on reducing volatile organic compound emissions.
Sustainable Furnishings Council
Sklar Furnishings is a proud member of the Sustainable Furnishings Council (SFC). SFC certification demonstrates a measurable commitment to sustainable practices, and makes it easy for customers to identify stock lists of environmentally friendly furniture. Users can also search the SFC website for members, to confirm whether a manufacturer or store meets their standards. To qualify for membership, applicants must at minimum demonstrate ‘verifiable intent’ to improve their sustainability practice. The SFC currently has over 400 members, making it the largest organization of its kind.