© Factory FurnitureThis is a guest article written by Factory Furniture.
It seems hard to believe but we have been using FSC-certified hardwoods for over 25 years.
Factory Furniture was established in 1989, designing and making handmade custom interior pieces. Our first exterior product, the Serpentine bench we launched with the help of the Crafts Council at the New York Furniture Fair and within a few years we were specialising in contemporary exterior furniture.
Initially we used temperate hardwoods for domestic furniture in timbers such as Oak, Ash and Sycamore but as we moved into more external public furniture, we needed a material which could be utilised externally without the need for varnishing and all the associated environmental and maintenance problems.
We have always been aware of the issues of sourcing tropical timber, choosing not to use tropical hardwoods at all initially, but the discovery of The Good Wood Guide by Friends of the Earth in the late 90’s gave insight on how to purchase sustainable hardwoods. We decided in 1999 to only purchase tropical hardwoods if they were FSC certified.
© Factory FurnitureIn 2006 we took the leap and decided to become an FSC-certified supplier, becoming one of the first furniture makers in the UK to have chain of custody certification from FSC. Certification certainly helped to develop our brand by confirming our uncompromising timber purchasing policy and within a few years of this we decided to become 100% FSC - I think we may be the only furniture maker with this policy.
Our core ethos about timber is we care passionately it – where it is from, its unique properties, beauty that it holds, and how it is produced. We are clear that, whatever we do, we need to be working in a way that tries to secure a long-term sustainable future for some of the most biodiverse, beautiful, and impoverished parts of the world.
We regularly discuss sourcing alternative materials to make our furniture, stepping away from the tropical timbers, maybe even trying new generation of recycled plastics etc. but when we started to dig deeper, we realise that if responsible purchasers of timber like ourselves choose to step away, then the impact on our rainforests could be devastating. The land value in the rainforests will plummet and it is much more likely that forests will be cleared to release land for cash crops and cattle farming.
Ultimately, our timber policy was never inspired by consumer demand as we have always been aware of the potential damage of over felling, but we feel our stance helps educate our mostly professional customer base toward a more educated approach to purchasing timber products.
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