Last updated on March 5th, 2023 at 10:40 am
As furniture makers we use wood. We are committed to not only harvesting trees sustainably but also reforesting vulnerable wildlife habitats where our competitors still harvest timber illegally.
Putting a Face on the Forest
We’ve been promoting forest conservation for almost 20 years but I feel like we haven’t really moved the needle when it comes to helping people understand why that’s so important. Perhaps it’s hard for people to relate to trees or climate change. Do you think our conservation message would have a better chance if it focused on the faces of animals who need a healthy forest to survive? We’re going to give it a try.
Conserving Their Homes Starts in Our Homes
In 2015 we started our partnership with Jose Luis Alvarez, founder of Forests for Monarchs FFM. We were already working to conserve monarch butterfly habitat here in Vermont. We knew that monarchs fly from Vermont to Mexico every Fall where they spend the winter in an ancient forest. That forest is rapidly shrinking due to illegal logging. We’ve been raising awareness about that and helping FFM plant thousands of trees to restore monarch habitat. At the same time, we’re asking consumers to consider the environmental impact of their choices as they furnish their homes.
Forest Conservation is our Mission at VWS
Ken and I started Vermont Woods Studios back in 2005. For Ken, it was a way to promote and sell the beautiful, handcrafted furniture he and his fellow Vermont woodworkers were making. My purpose was to raise awareness about where your furniture comes from and persuade people to buy furniture that’s made with sustainably harvested wood (because most of it isn’t). I’ve written about it dozens of times on our blog:
- Why Buy Sustainable Furniture?
- Is Your Wood Furniture Brought to You by Organized Crime?
- Why a Furniture Store Cares About Trees & Monarchs
- 9 Species Going Extinct Due to Habitat Destruction & Deforestation
- Can a Small Business Make the World a Better Place?
- Climate Change & the Furniture Industry
Greenwashing is a Lucrative Industry
When we first started VWS we were big proponents of green-certified furniture. We maintained memberships with the major certification bodies. But we quickly realized that the global timber industry (being so large, loose and lucrative) had fallen under the control of organized crime. Counterfeiting of green certifications is rampant, as cited in this report: Environmental auditors approve green labels for products linked to deforestation and authoritarian regimes (under the umbrella of #DeforestationInc). Since we can’t determine if “green-certified” imported wood is real or counterfeit, we decided to simply avoid using any wood that is imported from overseas. The wood in all of our furniture is sourced from well managed, North American forests. That is our best assurance of sustainability.
I Could Use Your Help
I feel like my message hasn’t really gotten anywhere but I can’t seem to give up on it. What do you think? How can we help spread this message that our everyday choices at the cash register determine the future of our planet? Contact me on Facebook, Instagram or the VWS website with your thoughts and advice. Thanks!
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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.