Russia’s invasion of Ukraine may have put a serious dent in the availability of FSC-certified timber, but the NGO’s logo remains the best-recognised mark of sustainable forestry among consumers seeking more responsibly-made furniture. This month, Furniture News discovers how two manufacturers are working with the Forest Stewardship Council to meet that growing demand …
Since 1994, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) has promoted responsible forest management, and is now the world’s leading certification system for timber products.
By employing robust and responsible forest management processes, and monitoring materials throughout the supply chain, the international NGO has become the world’s principal guarantor of the origins and sustainability of wood, and a prominent benchmark for furniture products.
Durable and attractive, wood remains an extremely popular choice in furniture construction, and over 10,000 furniture companies worldwide have voluntarily signed up to the certification body (almost half of them based in Europe).
With consumers becoming increasingly savvy about their purchases’ green credentials, the FSC’s Chain of Custody certification – denoted by the organisation’s green, tick-tree symbol – has never been more important to furniture retailers and their supply partners.
Yet high demand can become prohibitive. In March 2022, in response to the invasion of Ukraine, the FSC suspended all trading certificates in Russia and Belarus, and blocked all controlled wood from the two countries – at the same time, modifying its framework to continue operations in Ukraine (where safe to do so).
Restricting access to some of the world’s largest forests slowed the supply of FSC-certified timber to many European furnituremakers, many of which have been forced to look at the viability of alternative certification bodies and countries of origin.
Despite these challenges, the FSC remains the certification partner of choice for much of the industry, and a well-recognised seal of sustainable approval. According to a recent survey conducted by the NGO with Ipsos, across 33 countries, nearly half (46%) of consumers surveyed recognised its logo, with recognition highest among those aged 18-24 (most notably in China, the UK, Germany, Brazil, Italy and Denmark).
For this month’s feature, Furniture News approached two FSC-certified furniture manufacturers – a sofamaker and a bedmaker – to find out more about their respective journeys, the drivers and challenges of working with the FSC, and their response to the shortages brought about by geopolitical fallout.
Read what Alan Spencer (quality and technical director, Siren Furniture) and Paul Little (MD, Airsprung Beds) had to say on the matter in this month's Furniture News.