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Climate Change and Responsible Wood Sourcing

Wood Furniture Scorecard Discussion Featured October 13

Edenton, NC - Many of us read a recent edition of The New York Times Magazine on "Loosing Earth," a clear-eyed story by Nathaniel Rich about the chances we have missed to avert the worst effects of anthropogenic climate change.  The threat and then arrival of Hurricane Florence, hitting the Carolinas especially hard, added to our sense of urgency in addressing the crisis we have brought upon our planet home. 

Most of us are clear what the government and individuals need to do to address the crisis, legislatively as well as in our own energy consumptions habits.  We know our choices matter, but we might not realize how much our furniture choices matter. 

The furnishings industry is the third-highest user of wood in the world, behind the construction and paper industries. Accounting for approximately 12 percent of all man-made greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation is affecting around 13 million hectares of tropical forest annually. That’s equivalent to losing a forest area the size of England each and every year.

Forests obviously do more than provide material for making furniture.  They are home to a large part of our planet’s biodiversity, and a crucial factor in the regulation of climate. Rampant deforestation not only prevents trees from absorbing carbon dioxide, but it also causes the release much of the carbon already stored in these trees back into the atmosphere.  

Without a doubt, challenging the role of the wood products industry is crucial if we want to properly tackle the issue of climate change. However our role as specifiers and as consumers is fundamentally more important. Initiatives like the Wood Furniture Scorecard, by the National Wildlife Federation and the Sustainable Furnishings Council, help consumers to be responsible by “voting with their dollars”, which drives furniture retailers to source their wood responsibly.

The public has the power to hold companies accountable for how they source materials, a point that most major retailers understand.  During the upcoming High Point Market, SFC will host a discussion among leading retailers who scored in the Top Tier on the 2018 Wood Furniture Scorecard.  The discussion will take place at a breakfast meeting on October 13, at 8am, on the top floor of Showplace.  Panelists will include BARBARA BRAMBLE, VP, International Conservation and Corporate Strategies, National Wildlife Federation, JAMESON DION, Director of Global Sourcing, City Furniture, MICHELLE VAINBERG, Divisional Merchandise Manager, ABC Carpet & Home and CHRIS NEILL, VP of Sourcing, Quality Assurance and Merchant Operations Crate and Barrel will join SFC Executive Director SUSAN INGLIS in elaborating why developing robust wood sourcing policies matter: how they are used for improving consumer engagement as well as for supply chain management.

The occasion is the annual OPEN SFC Membership Meeting, and all are invited.  There is no charge for the event, but RSVP is requested.