SFC Academy

What Is Sustainability?

In 1987, the United Nations Brundtland Commission defined sustainability as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

For SFC, sustainability in home furnishings specifically refers to the design, production, sale, and use of furniture to minimize negative environmental, health, and social impacts. This includes using eco-friendly materials, reducing energy and water consumption during manufacturing, ensuring product durability, and considering ethical labor practices throughout the supply chain.

SFC designs our education, working groups, webinar topics, tools, and resources based on the "Sustainability Six:" carbon, health, social, waste, water, and circularity. We encourage manufacturers, suppliers, retailers, and designers to incorporate these practices into their company policies.


Carbon Best Practices
  • Wood-sourcing Transportation
  • Track and Reduce
  • Energy usage 
  • Life Cycle Assessments 
  • Carbon Reduction Targets 
  • Public Disclosure of Company Emissions - Setting Goals!


Health Best Practices
  • Material inputs (Hazardous Handful)
    • Flame retardant chemicals
    • Fluorinated stain treatments
    • Antimicrobials
    • Vinyl
    • VOCs, including formaldehyde
  • Third-party certifications and disclosures 
  • Bio-based furnishings - Clean Products!


Social Best Practices
  • Living wages for workers domestic & international 
  • Flexible hours + benefits 
  • Minority, Women & LGBTQ+ Equality 
  • Company philanthropy and wellness programs


Waste Best Practices
  • Zero-waste goals 
  • Waste inventory 
  • Waste reduction 
  • Waste diversion


Water Best Practices
  • Monitor Production level 
  • Treatment of water after use 
  • Company-wide water usage 
  • Metered Water use inventory 
  • Water reporting


Circularity Best Practices
  • Material usage 
  • End of life 
  • LCA Repair 
  • Reuse Packaging

The Sustainable Furnishings Council (SFC) has adopted the Parson's Healthy Materials Lab & Brightworks Sustainability's "LENS" to define sustainability. This visual tool helps all home furnishings stakeholders understand the "sustainability six" in greater detail.