Sustainable forestry, the practice of actively managing and maintaining woodlands, is the only way to ensure the long term health and growth of the world’s forests. Although it might seem as though anything made from harvesting wood is harmful to the environment, that is actually not the case.
Sustainable forestry is at the core of Vermont Woods Studios’ business model: to provide handcrafted, custom wood furniture that is made sustainably right here in Vermont. We know a thing or two about sustainable forestry practices, because we’ve been managing our own forest here in Vermont since 2013.
Triple Bottom Line Sustainability
We believe that practices are genuinely sustainable when they meet the needs of people, protect the planet, and create economic impact. As leaders in our industry, our goal is to highlight the innovative (and traditional) best practices that make it possible for wood furniture making to sustain itself for generations to come.
When it comes to people, we know that all of our craftsmen use wood that is sustainably harvested from local and regional North American forests. But we also care about the makers themselves, too. Our furniture makers receive fair compensation for their considerable talent and are paid a living wage in a safe and healthy work environment. Copeland Furniture and Lyndon Furniture both employ over 100 people in the state of Vermont. Vermont Furniture Designs and Maple Corner are smaller at around 10-15 in their respective workshops.
The same goes for foresters, loggers, truckers, and saw mill operators. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an independent, non-governmental, not-for-profit organization that promotes responsible management of the world's forests. According to the Rainforest Alliance, co-founders of the FSC:
“Members of certified enterprises were four times more likely to have taken part in a safety course; 94 percent of these businesses offered regular medical exams to their workers; all of the certified enterprises properly washed and stored their protective gear; and 100 percent—four times as many as noncertified enterprises—offered medical attention to their employees when they were injured on the job.”
We recognize the FSC as an important tool to promote responsible forest management and have a preference for sourcing FSC-certified wood furniture when it meets our requirements. Overall, we estimate that more than 25% of the wood in our furniture is FSC certified or recycled/upcycled/ reclaimed and all of it is harvested from North American forests, which are well maintained and adhere to strict environmental public policies.
Stay tuned for parts two and three about planet and profits!