RALEIGH, N.C. – Consumers looking for sustainably made wood furniture can now see how their favorite stores stack up when it comes to environmentally friendly practices.
The National Wildlife Federation, along with the Sustainable Furnishings Council, have ranked the leading U.S. retailers on their wood-sourcing practices and compiled that information into an online scorecard. The Federation’s Barbara Bramble, vice president for international conservation and corporate strategies, said after the paper and construction industries, furniture manufacturers are the world’s third-leading user of wood.
“Wood furniture is a type of industry where valuable trees, individually important species, are selected on purpose,” Bramble said. “And so it’s quite important for maintaining forest health that that be done in a responsible way.”
The scorecard looked at how nearly 90 businesses sourced their wood. It also evaluated companies’ use of recycled and reclaimed wood.
Cisco Home, ABC Carpet and Home, and IKEA are among the top-ranked retailers for sustainable wood sourcing. Bramble said consumers also can find information on lesser-known brands.
“One thing to remember is that 65% of furniture in North America comes through independent retailers, not the chains,” she said. “So that’s why we’ve made the list of companies we score a wide variety.”
Responsible wood sourcing is good for business. According to a poll by the Sustainable Furnishings Council, more than 80% of consumers surveyed said they are interested in buying furniture made from wood harvested from well-managed forests. Bramble said since the scorecard was developed last year, many companies already have made improvements.
“The scores, even the top category for several companies, went up this year. And, a number of companies who were in the very low-scoring basket have raised their scores as well,” she said. “So, I think this scorecard is catching their attention.”
North Carolina is home to one of the largest furniture-manufacturing industries in the country, employing more than 35,000 people, according to the state Department of Commerce.