Climate Change & the Furniture Industry

UN’s Climate Change Report, October 2018

This week the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued it’s Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 Degrees C.  One conclusion was that our planet has only 12 years to stem catastrophic climate change. Yikes! The IPCC calls on us as individuals and governments to take action to avoid disastrous levels of global warming.  “Rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society” are required.  Some good news though… “changes in individual behavior can make a difference.”

What Does the Furniture Industry Have to Do with Climate Change?

Do you know where the wood in your furniture originates? If you’re buying it online or from a large retailer there’s a good chance your furniture comes from trees that have been illegally clear-cut from the world’s rapidly disappearing rainforests. The resulting deforestation adds more atmospheric CO2 (global warming pollution) than the sum total of cars and trucks on the world’s roads (Scientific American, Deforestation and Its Extreme Effect on Global Warming).

This Global Forest Watch interactive map shows tree cover loss since the year 2000. Areas in pink are those suffering the worst rates of deforestation. They are the areas where timber is being illegally harvested and used to make imported furniture.

Am I Buying Furniture that Contributes to Climate Change?

Ask your retailer if their furniture is made from legally harvested wood. You’ll probably get a blank stare or some green-washed gobbledygook. That’s because there’s no reliable way to tell where furniture originates unless it’s 100% made in America with North American wood. Here are some recent articles that explore the origin of most wood furniture sold in the USA today:

If you’re buying furniture and your retailer does not explicitly state that their furniture is made in America, you can bet that it’s imported. Wood for imported furniture is typically supplied through organized crime which controls most of the global timber market (Environmental Crime – The Trafficking of Wildlife and Timber, UN Office on Drugs & Crime).

Sustainably Managed Forest | Vermont Woods Studios | Furniture
I can say with certainty that the furniture we offer at Vermont Woods Studios is made with legal, sustainably harvested, North American wood. Shown above: sustainably managed woodlands near our showroom in SE Vermont. (Public domain image, courtesy of the Addison Eagle)

American Made Furniture Does Not Contribute to Climate Change

Forest conservation laws in the USA are strict and enforced. Like most truly American made furniture companies, I can say with certainty that the furniture we offer at Vermont Woods Studios is made with legal, sustainably harvested, North American wood.

Learn More & Shop Sustainable Furniture Today

Want to learn more about the connection between climate change and the furniture industry?  Give us a call, share your questions on our Facebook or visit our showroom located on 109 acres of sustainably-managed woodlands in Southeastern Vermont.  Thanks for taking the time to read this post.

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This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Peggy Farabaugh

Peggy Farabaugh

She is a CEO who brakes for salamanders, has bottle-fed rescued squirrels and spent her vacation building furniture for a rural school in Costa Rica. She believes in the future and in the people who will build it. A former distance-learning professor at Tulane University with a master’s in environmental health & safety, she turned an interest in forest conservation and endangered species into a growing, local business. She delivers rainforest statistics at breakneck speed, but knows how to slow down and appreciate the beauty of a newly finished piece of heirloom furniture.

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