Sustainable wood sourcing is essential to protecting forests and conserving resources for future generations. Currently, there are five key wood sourcing certification programs that ensure companies use responsible forestry management practices and ethically sourced wood for their furniture and products. By understanding what each designation stands for and how they prioritize sustainability, you can make informed decisions when purchasing ethically sourced furniture.
Is Wood Furniture Environmentally Friendly?
Ethically sourced furniture made from wood is an eco-friendly option for any home. Trees are the only source of building material produced solely from the environment: sun, rain, and carbon from the air. This natural source helps keep furniture sustainable, renewable, and biodegradable. On top of this, wooden furniture adds warmth, character, and beauty to a living space that cannot be duplicated by any other type of material.
Still, one of the biggest concerns of environmentalists is the excessive use of wood for furniture to the point where it would damage forests. That is where certified wood comes into play.
What is Certified Wood?
Certified wood is wood that comes from forests certified by organizations that help minimize negative impacts on the environment. Certified wood has been harvested in an environmentally responsible manner, reducing its effect on soil, water, air, and biodiversity. It is also regularly reviewed under stringent standards set forth by independent organizations to ensure the certified wood maintains its sustainability goals. The goal of responsibly managed wood sourcing is to protect the species of trees and animals living in the forest ecosystems and contribute to conservation efforts.
When you choose to buy certified wooden furniture, you are making a conscious decision to protect our planet’s precious resources while at the same time adding solidity and style to your interior décor.
5 Wood Sourcing Certifications that Guarantee Ethically Sourced Wood
Wood sourcing certifications exist to ensure that wood products are ethically sourced, meaning no trees were taken from protected areas, and local communities are respected and treated responsibly. Companies that hold wood sourcing certifications are committed to using sustainable practices in their forestry operations or purchasing certified wood for their products. Here are the top five wood sourcing certifications and how they protect our forests.
1. Forest Stewardship Council Certification
The Forest Stewardship Certification (FSC) is an international certification that guarantees companies source wood in a way that sustains and protects forests. Companies must meet the criteria for responsible forest management and logging practices to earn this prestigious recognition. This system helps protect the global environment by encouraging the responsible use of natural resources and providing assurance that raw materials are sourced responsibly and sustainably with respect to local communities and ecosystems.
The FSC certification process is overseen by an independent body of experts who conduct on-site inspections and provide detailed reporting. With this certification, consumers know they are purchasing products derived from forests managed sustainably, preventing further deforestation and ultimately helping to ensure healthy forests remain standing for years to come.
2. Carbon Smart Wood™ Program
The Carbon Smart Wood™ program offers a unique opportunity to help protect and improve our environment. Issued by Cambium Carbon, the company takes trees that have fallen down naturally and keeps them from decomposing or being wasted in landfills by turning them into Carbon Smart Wood™. Furniture companies can then purchase this ethically sourced wood for their products. The Carbon Smart Wood™ program diverts waste, creates jobs, and plants new trees, helping to restore the urban ecosystems so vital for both people and nature.
3. Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification
The Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) provides a secure and informative way to track the sources of sustainable wood furniture and products along the forestry supply chain, from landowners to retailers. Their third-party certification process evaluates forests for quality and sustainability, upholding standards of responsible forest management.
PEFC is one of the world’s fastest-growing forest certification systems, with over 280 million hectares of certified forests and 20,000 certified companies. It leverages existing investments in forest management while encouraging economic growth through the equitable sharing of economic benefits. Through its commitment to social, ecological, and economic sustainability, PEFC has established itself as a strong global leader in certification efforts and has taken an essential step toward ensuring responsible management practices are used during harvesting processes worldwide.
4. Appalachian Hardwood Manufacturers Inc.
Appalachian Hardwood Manufacturers Inc. (AHMI) is a trade association dedicated to protecting forests by working directly with lumber companies and promoting responsible harvesting, replanting, and sourcing practices. Companies that hold an AHMI certification provide ethically sourced wood to furniture manufacturers to provide consumers with ethically sourced furniture created from responsibly sourced, certified wood.
5. Sustainable Forestry Initiative
The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) strives to promote the responsible management of forests throughout the United States and Canada. As an independent, non-profit organization, SFI takes a multifaceted approach to ensure long-term sustainability for woodlands by working with companies across their supply chain. SFI issues certificates for everything from sourcing wood for woodworking sustainably to responsible treatment of indigenous people and land. They've even taken it a step further by educating universities, government organizations, and local communities on putting sustainable forestry practices into place within their areas. Consumers are empowered to buy products marked with an SFI certification as they can feel assured that the goods have been responsibly acquired.
Evaluating Ethically Sourced Furniture with the Wood Furniture Scorecard
The Wood Furniture Scorecard (WFS) scores businesses on their dedication to sustainability and environmentally-responsible manufacturing processes. The WFS measures actions like
- Wood sourcing
- Use of FSC-certified materials
- Use of recycled materials
- Use of reclaimed wood
- Additional efforts to create sustainable wood furniture
Why Sourcing Wood for Woodworking Sustainably Matters
Sourcing wood for woodworking sustainably is an incredibly important practice–one that can help preserve our world's natural resources that may otherwise quickly become exhausted. It also has the potential to help protect endangered forests, promote responsible management of our forests, and support communities that depend on forest products for their livelihoods. Certification, however must be done with integrity and transparency as discussed in this article about widespread cheating on environmental audits of imported wood. As a consumer, you can help reduce ecological damage caused by irresponsible logging by purchasing eco-friendly wood furniture from companies like Vermont Wood Studios.
Our commitment to sustainability means we only use responsibly sourced North-American hardwoods from trees that grow natively in our local forests. All of our ethically sourced wood furniture is made in America and built to last. We are also committed to helping reforest lands by partnering with non-profit organizations to plant thousands of trees each year. Learn more about our company and shop our sustainable wood furniture today!