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Mission & History

Sustainability: More than a Slogan

The Sustainable Furnishings Council is an educational and marketing organization, promoting healthy environments, inside and outside.  A balanced coalition of home furnishings industry players, SFC was founded at High Point, NC in October 2006 to promote sustainable practices among furniture manufacturers, retailers, and consumers alike.

The SFC recognizes the overwhelming scientific consensus that our world is experiencing dangerous global climate change. SFC members acknowledge the tremendous urgency, and take immediate steps to minimize carbon emissions, waste stream pollutants, un-recyclable content and primary materials from unsustainable sources from any product platform under their control. SFC members utilize Life Cycle Assessment as the best method for analyzing the environmental and health impact of their 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 developing awareness of best practices throughout their supply chains. Members accomplish this goal by increasing their purchases from suppliers that show continual improvement toward meeting our high standards.

Our goals are as follows:

  • To raise awareness of the sustainability issue
  • To assist companies in adopting good practices
  • To serve as an information clearing house
  • To provide a symbol of assurance for consumers


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. From that point, 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 our kind in residential furnishings.

We believe our structure has been key to our success.  By reaching out to all constituencies in the industry, and including environmental heayweights like Rainforest Alliance, World Wildlife Fund, and one of the founders of the US Green Building Council as well as retailers, manufacturers, designers and suppliers, we maintain a crucial balance in perspective. Our mission going forward is to provide the best education, promotion, and networking opportunities available to capitalize on rising consumer interest in environmentally safe  furnishings by developing many more sustainable options. We welcome one and all to join us in doing our part for a healthy future!

Good Business that is Good for Business

Importantly, we note that sustainability has become a mandate among the buying public. As consumers become more educated, they seek out acceptable choices that meet their needs for style, value, and eco-responsibility. Our organization is known for its rigorous compliance with established sustainability standards to ensure that all members are demonstrably committed to ongoing improvement.

In 2008, we launched a public advertising and in-store tagging program for consumers to identify retailers and products which exceed our threshold sustainability standards. Our Standards Committee ongoingly reviews all legitimate, independent certification schemes to establish eligibility requirements. All who joined in 2007, our debut year, are designated Founding Members and we appreciate what their commitment has made possible.

The time is now — the solution starts with you!