The perfect furniture doesn’t just look good – it’s kind to the planet too. Here’s how to ensure you’re buying responsibly…
Whether we’re talking about recycling, cutting our energy emissions or reducing our plastic waste, sustainability is firmly in the spotlight. And increasingly, the interiors industry is working from an eco-friendly perspective too.
From ethically sourced, solid timber furniture to cushions created from recycled plastics, home décor trends are becoming ever more focused around sustainable design. And this includes a bigger emphasis on natural materials too, such as wood. Unlike many manmade materials, timber from well-managed forests is renewable and sustainable, making it a great, eco-friendly option.
But when choosing timber furniture, how do you ensure you are buying responsibly? At Forest to Home, our commitment to ethical, sustainable furniture runs right to our core. It’s a fundamental part of who we are, and we firmly believe in taking our clients along for the ride.
In fact, at our Wiltshire workshop we welcome visitors with open arms. Whether you want to handpick your perfect slice of oak or know the provenance of a slab of ash, we’ll join the dots, so you understand exactly where your finished piece comes from.
So, from origins right through to certification, here’s our guide to buying solid timber furniture responsibly….
This is the most important question to ask any supplier. Certification proves that the timber supply comes from a sustainable source. That means the woodland is being properly managed, so it can regenerate at the same rate that it’s being felled. We need to use timber at a sustainable rate, and a well-managed forest is carefully regulated to ensure it’s healthy and supplying wood without damaging the ecosystem.
This doesn’t just include planting, but also selective felling, to ensure the trees are allowed to mature and gobble up as much carbon dioxide as possible. Forests have often been likened to vast vacuum cleaners, thanks to their carbon-guzzling potential. When in leaf, trees cleanse the air of Co2, before locking that carbon into their trunk and branches. This happens at a faster rate when they are younger, and a well-managed forest will be harvested in a way that ensures it locks in as much carbon as possible.
In contrast, unprotected timber is often linked to destructive and illegal logging. This largescale plundering of the world’s natural resources threatens endangered species and indigenous tribes, as well as decimating irreplaceable ancient forests.
Here at Forest to Home, we ensure that every piece of wood is totally traceable from its source, through the workshop and right up until the end of its journey. We only source timber from suppliers and forests that are licensed or certified by Grown in Britain, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). We are also proud to hold a Grown in Britain Chain of Custody Certificate, which means our supply chain has been independently audited and that it’s fully sustainable.
When you glance at a wooden desk or chair, it’s sometimes easy to forget that it was once a leafy tree. But it’s important to know where your timber grew. Is it British-sourced, or shipped from abroad? There’s nothing wrong with buying from abroad, as long as it’s certified, but buying British supports our economy, our craftspeople and the people who manage our forests responsibly. Of course, you’re also reducing travel miles, which means fewer emissions.
Don’t be afraid to ask whether a business supports sustainability in other ways. For example, at Forest to Home we donate proceeds from our sales to Grown in Britain, so more trees can be planted. Put simply, we give back more than we take.
Our sustainability processes are also written by members of the Soil Association, and we constantly invest in our own eco-education. Sustainability isn’t just about buying timber responsibly, it’s about going above and beyond to support those who are out there, fighting for a better world.
If a business can’t answer your questions around sustainability, question why! It’s very easy for people to say they operate sustainably, but when you peel back the layers what do you find…