You are here

Mission & History

Mission: Sustainability

The Sustainable Furnishings Council (501c6) is a coalition of manufacturers, retailers and designers dedicated to raising awareness and expanding the adoption of environmentally sustainable practices across the home furnishings industry.  Sustainable Furnishings Education Fund (501c3,) under the same management as SFC, is dedicated to educating furniture consumers, designers and the residential furnishings industry at large on all aspects of sustainability and the impact of our choices in materials, products, and services.

Our mission is to help consumers find healthier furnishings and to help companies reduce their environmental footprints as they grow.  To accomplish these goals, we provide guidance, education, promotion, and networking opportunities.  We are increasing interest in environmentally safe furnishings and promoting the development of more sustainable options.  

Our vision is that everyone everywhere furnish their homes safely and comfortably with sustainable furnishings that are designed, produced and distributed to protect, preserve and provide a healthy world for future generations.


The Sustainable Furnishings Council was created and organized in the showroom of our founder, Gerry Cooklin, at High Point in October, 2006.

For years, Gerry had pursued sustainability as a personal passion. He had an awakening moment while camping in the Sierra Nevadas when he encountered a magnificent Juniper tree at an elevation of over 11,000 feet. He was humbled and, in an instant, recognized his duty to protect the rainforest, a prime source of wood for his furniture company, South Cone. He worked to "green up" his own manufacturing operations and to make a significant difference in his native Peru.  Further, he started to organize small meetings at the High Point Furniture Market, which eventually blossomed into the founding meeting of SFC with some 70 members present. The SFC has since grown to over 400 members, the largest organization of its kind in residential furnishings.

SFEF was formed in 2017 to expand the education work begun by SFC.  SFEF educational programming is directed to all residential furnishings industry professionals and also the furniture consuming public.  As we began, interior design professionals were clamoring for education in all aspects of sustainability. Consumer interest in sustainable home furnishings is rapidly growing, as evidenced by annual research into consumer trends, and they too need a resource for basic information to help them find the furnishings they desire.  SFEF is pleased to fill the gap with online resources as well as programming.

Our structure has been key to our success.  By reaching out to all constituencies in the industry, and following guidance from environmental heavyweights like National Wildlife Federation, Rainforest Alliance, World Wildlife Fund, a founder of the US Green Building Council as well as retailers, manufacturers, designers, and suppliers, we maintain a crucial balance in perspective. We welcome one and all to join us in doing our part for a healthy future!

Good Business That’s Good for Business

There is overwhelming scientific consensus that our world is experiencing dangerous global climate change, and equally overwhelming evidence that environmental pollutants are harming our health.  It is urgent that we take immediate steps to minimize carbon emissions, reduce other pollutants, and remove unsustainable materials and harmful chemical inputs from all furnishings product platforms.  

SFC urges the use of Life Cycle Assessment as the best method for analyzing the environmental and health impact of products and a verifiable chain of custody as the only acceptable method for tracking wood flow. SFC members support the triple bottom line of PEOPLE - PLANET - PROFITS and lead the industry in best practices throughout their supply chains. Members are committed to continuous work toward a healthy future, inside and out.

Together SFC and SFEF:

  • Raise awareness of sustainability issues
  • Assist in the adoption of more eco-friendly practices
  • Serve as an information clearinghouse
  • Provide a symbol of assurance for consumers and professional specifiers alike


The time is now — the solution starts with you!