Buy Furniture with a Future When You Shop Sustainably

Reading the Label

The Sustainable Furnishings Council's logo means the furniture manufacturer meets all of SFC's criteria.

The Sustainable Furnishings Council’s logo means the furniture manufacturer meets all of SFC’s criteria.

Buying the right furniture means knowing what to look for — and what to avoid — before you begin shopping. The easiest way to do that is to look for furniture that bears the SFC logo; the logo serves as a “seal of approval” that the manufacturer’s commitment to sustainability practices has been vetted and verified. The SFC also offers a “finder tool” on its website that allows users to search by product or room, as well as by stores and interior design services, in a specific geographical area.

The challenge facing consumers is similar to those found in labeling “organic” and “natural” foods when they first came on the market; currently, there’s nothing to regulate or verify manufacturers’ claims on an industry-wide level.

“There is no regulated definition of the term ‘sustainable,’ so it can mean different things to different people,” Inglis says. At the SFC, which was launched in 2006, they hold the standard of sustainability to mean it “supports a triple bottom line of people, planet and profits.” She says SFC members commit to taking immediate steps to reduce carbon emissions, waste-stream pollutants and unrecyclable materials. They also evaluate the life cycle of their products to analyze the long-term environmental impact of the goods they produce.

Next page: Raising questions

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