Ready, Set........... Scorecard!

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For the last six years the Sustainable Furnishings Council and the National Wildlife Federation have been publishing the Wood Furniture Scorecard. The Scorecard is a tool to assess furniture retail stores on their wood sourcing policies and the types of wood used to make the furniture they sell. The assessment uses set criteria, the “scorecard methodology”, and the scoring team looks first at the company’s website content for a preliminary score in 3 categories:
Policy, Practices and Performance, and Additional Actions.
 
Once Again
 
We are at the start of assessing retail companies for the Wood Furniture Scorecard. I fondly refer to this time at SFC as "The Scoring Season". The definition and description of the process in the above paragraph from a previous article has not changed since the scorecard began in 2018, and we're now poised to review furniture retail companies for the seventh year.
 
What is Changing this year?
 
The Methodology used for scoring is updated every year, in order to keep companies moving forward with implementation of a wood sourcing policy and setting and reporting on wood sourcing goals. The focus this year, the big changes and the increase of potential points are to the Practices and Performance, section.
 
Emphasizing the Importance of Setting Targets
 
Adopting a wood sourcing policy is the first step. Working with your vendors - the companies who make the wood furniture or supply the wood - implementation of the policy - is an ongoing second step. Setting public goals will hold everyone accountable and gives a company leverage and talking points for vendors.
 
More points are available in this year's scorecard IF a company sets targets or goals on the amount of certified and/or reclaimed wood they aim to purchase, and in a follow-up criterion: IF a company publicly reports on the targets. For example, a target would be "to achieve 75% responsibly sourced wood in our furniture products by 2030". Reporting on that target would be to say: We (company X) have reached 40% responsibly sourced wood in 2023". 
 
The methodology doesn't care about the actual percentages of a company's stated goal, it's about the element of transparency in public reporting. And it can be as simple as putting the goals and targets on their website or adding the information to a formal sustainability report with public access.  Here are the methodology criteria that shows this: 
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In addition, two points are available for companies who get 3rd party verification of their public reporting. We encourage this next step in reporting, though for some company's it can be cost prohibitive. 
 
 Visibility
 
The methodology has also been strengthened to bolster a company's brand identity and website (sales) offerings. This year, the wood sourcing policy has to be found on the brand's website (not a parent company or sister-brand), and if the company's website has a search feature, it has to return results, or "visibly show" that a company sells furniture made out of reclaimed wood, (any) certified wood, and/or FSC® Certified wood.  
 
Of course, its detailed and nuanced! It's a tested framework, updated annually, for reviewing a company's progress. It has served SFC well as we help retail companies understand the power of a wood sourcing policy and make informed decisions about their wood purchases. 
 
Download the 2024 Scoring Methodology PDF, to see all the updates to the criteria.  
 
 
Over Six Years
 
We’ve seen the influence the scorecard has on retail companies. The level of engagement most often correlates to a company's score: meaning, the higher the engagement of a company during scoring season typically results in an increased or higher final score. If requested, we offer advice to companies on sourcing better wood and some improvements can be made quickly. Another reported influence of the scorecard happens as companies want to increase their percentage of certified wood furniture (i.e. implement the policy), they start searching for new brands or vendors when they cannot source the types of certified or reclaimed wood (in furniture form) that is desired. We are also happy to hear when retailers and manufacturers collaborate by slowly increasing responsibly sourced wood volumes over time. That sounds like doing business together for the good of the environment! 

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