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New Scorecard Helps Consumers Find Responsibly Sourced Wood Furniture

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Monday, October 18, 2021   

HIGH POINT, N.C. - The National Wildlife Federation and Sustainable Furnishings Council have released the latest list of furniture retailers who rely on sustainably sourced wood.

Companies such as Cisco Home, Williams-Sonoma, The Arrangement and Working Wonders ranked at the top for sustainable practices.

Susan Inglis - executive director of the Sustainable Furnishings Council - said the scorecard is both a guide for conscientious consumers and a blueprint for retailers seeking to improve their wood-sourcing standards.

"These companies have all made a commitment to sourcing their wood products carefully," said Inglis, "so as to avoid contributing to deforestation."

North Carolina is home to the fifth-largest wood-product manufacturing industry in the nation. The Scorecard is available online at 'sustainablefurnishings.org.'

Barbara Bramble - vice president for International Wildlife Conservation at the National Wildlife Federation - explained that much of the wood used to make furniture is harvested from natural forests, but she said wood production can be done sustainably without worsening deforestation.

Around 30% of the world's forests are production forests.

"A lot of wood harvests around the world are illegal," said Bramble, "and unsustainable in other ways, damaging to forests and soils and water quality, but it doesn't have to be that way."

Inglis said the scorecard goes beyond home decor, pointing out that when trees are cut down, their stored carbon is released into the environment. According to the Environmental Defense Fund, tropical deforestation makes up around 20% of annual global greenhouse-gas emissions.

"Consumers do understand more and more that healthy forests have something to do with our being able to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change," said Inglis.

Bramble said momentum is growing in wood-dependent industries to step up policies and practices that promote responsibly sourced wood.

"Even during this last year and a half of the COVID pandemic," said Bramble, "we have found that the number of companies getting involved in the wood furniture scorecard, getting interested in increasing their score, has gone up with each installment each year."

About a third of wood extracted from natural forests worldwide is used for timber products, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists.




Disclosure: National Wildlife Federation contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Endangered Species & Wildlife, Energy Policy, Environment, Public Lands/Wilderness, Salmon Recovery, Water. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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