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The "What's it made of?" Initiative






Sustainable Furnishings Education Fund, American Sustainable Business Network, Center for Environmental Health, Healthy Materials Lab at Parsons School of Design, and others joined in partnership to create the "What's it made of?" initiative. This program is designed to help you ask and find out what everything you use is made of, in an effort to avoid the harmful chemicals most commonly found in furnishings. With this initiative,we encourage transparency in supply chains and we hope to stimulate innovation to reduce harmful chemical inputs to the manufacture of furnishings. 

Leading businesses are seeking to capture emerging market opportunities by redesigning their products and catalyzing change in their supply chains. We realize this is a multi-stage process, but we do all we can to support progress, such as legislation for fewer rather than more chemicals like flame retardants. (See our statement on fire safety and flame retardants here.) As a partner in the "What's it made of?" Initiative, SFEF is committed to supporting businesses in improving their supply chains, and in being useful to consumers, who prefer environmentally safe furnishings.

We invite you to join with us in this effort, starting with signing The Pledge to ASK, "What's it made of?" whenever you are shopping for furnishings products and materials:

As a business leader, I am concerned about the health of our world - my employees, customers, communities, and the global environment. I am committed to reducing the use of chemicals that harm human health and the environment.

As a first step, I commit to ask my suppliers about the presence of the following chemicals of concern in the products that we produce, specify or purchase: flame retardant chemicals, fluorinated stain treatments, antimicrobials, vinyl and VOCs including formaldehyde.


SIGN THE PLEDGE! This pledge is a conversation starter. Here is an overview of these chemicals uses and impacts. You may find that you need help, including guidance, education, and resources to improve the products and materials that you manufacture, specify and buy. Please contact us today with your questions. SFC staff and partners stand ready to help.

Once you have taken the pledge, joining 450 others as of the end of 2021, you can send your suppliers to the Supply Chain Questionnaire we have prepared. It will help you understand what they are providing and will help them disclose ingredients systematically. Let us know if you have any trouble accessing and using the Questionnaire, and if you have any feedback on it. Click here for a pdf overview of the Questionnaire.

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Then you will be ready to help spread the word and promote the inquiry. We would love to involve you in the growing campaign – DONATE TODAY!