These days we hear the term “sustainable” a lot - it certainly appears pretty frequently on our site. This is not meant to be a vague, “green-washing” term. Sustainability can take many forms especially when it comes to furniture manufacturing, which involves many steps, from material harvesting to final delivery. Let’s explore the ways furniture manufacturing can be sustainable and what that means for you, the consumer.
First, what does it mean to be sustainable? “Sustainable” can mean a lot of things in regards to furniture manufacturing, as the manufacturing process is a multifaceted one. From raw material harvesting to the final delivery and beyond, the carbon footprint of furniture can be extensive if it is not purposefully managed. Is the wood responsibly grown? Has it been legally harvested? How far did the raw material need to travel before it reached the manufacturing plant? Has the furniture been imported or was it manufactured domestically? Is the furniture heirloom quality or will it end up in a landfill within a few years, thus contributing heavily to waste? These are the questions we ask ourselves when determining the sustainability of a product.
Sustainable furniture aims to reduce the carbon footprint of furniture manufacturing in order to minimize emissions. Manufacturing is one of the main contributors to global warming. Thus, as furniture and home decor retailers, we have an obligation to help reduce emissions by offering the option of beautiful, sustainable furniture so that consumers can choose to participate in the fight against climate change.
In addition to contributing to global warming, poorly made, unsustainable furniture also adds considerably to landfills. Our sustainable furniture is high-quality and durable, specifically designed to be long-lasting. This also explains our preference for minimalist, Mid-Century and Modern furniture. We want our quality, sturdy furniture to transcend fads so that it can adapt to changing styles and trends over time. Furniture that cannot adapt is more likely to end up on the cutting board... the chopping block... the curb out front awaiting junk removal. We absolutely do not want that.
The goal is to have furniture that can last from home to home whether it’s you moving to a new place, gifting it to a family member, handing it down to your children, or even donating it to a second hand store for a new family to enjoy. High-quality, sustainable furniture doesn’t just reduce emissions through its original, controlled carbon footprint. Its longevity means less future manufacturing through a reduced demand, which is truly the key to minimizing global emissions.
Now that we have discussed all the forms sustainability can take in furniture manufacturing, let’s review the benefits of shopping Sustainable. Raw materials that are harvested ethically and responsibly reduce harmful deforestation. A wonderful example of superb raw materials is our Greenington Collections! All Greenington products are crafted in solid Moso Bamboo which is a rapidly renewable resource that is actually harder than red oak and produces more oxygen than the equivalent stands of trees. Products manufactured domestically do not have to travel as far thus reducing transportation emissions. Our Copeland Collections are made from wood harvested in the US and then manufactured in Vermont which means emissions attributed to importation are nonexistent. Finally, high-quality, long-lasting pieces, such as solid wood furniture, will last decades and won’t end up in a landfill after a few years. Durable furniture also reduces the demand for new furniture, thus helping to lessen future emissions. Many of our collections are crafted in solid wood and are designed to endure years of continued use.
We understand the terminology can sometimes get confusing or overwhelming. There is a lot out there meant to describe the shifting focus from mass production to conscientious manufacturing. For too long people produced and produced without consequences… or so we thought. Thankfully we are now wiser and are collectively trying to do better to ensure our planet lasts for generations to come. We still have a ways to go, but changing our manufacturing and purchasing habits to more sustainable practices is how we can make sure Earth will be able to, you got it, SUSTAIN life past our children’s children’s children’s lifetimes.