Vermont Woods Studios Handmade Furniture

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Sustainable Furniture: What is FSC Certification?

August 26th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh

About_fsc

If FSC certification is important to you, check out Copeland's Harbor Island Furniture collection. It's handmade here in VT with FSC certified maple from local Vermont trees.

Customers often come to us because they're shopping for eco-friendly, sustainable furniture.  At Vermont Woods Studios, our mission is founded on environmental and social responsibility so we find ourselves discussing FSC certification and other aspects of sustainable furniture almost every day.  Here are some of the basics on FSC:

What is FSC?
The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an independent,
non-governmental, not-for-profit organization that promotes responsible
management of the world's forests. It is widely regarded as one of the
most important initiatives to promote responsible forest management
worldwide. It places a special emphasis on rainforest conservation.

Fsc-chain-custody

L to R photo credits: Reststart Forestry, Allard Lumber, Wayne Fawbush, Ellen Kahler, Copeland Furniture, via the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund.

Launched
by environmental groups in 1993 FSC manages an international standard
for well-managed forests and a process for tracking and certifying wood
furniture, flooring and other products derived from those forests. FSC
addresses numerous aspects of sustainable forestry, including ecological
issues, old-growth forests, plantations, restoration, biodiversity,
native habitat, indigenous people's rights, and sound management for
timber production.

The FSC label provides certification of the
chain of links between the forest where a product originates and the
consumer. For example with wood furniture, each of the following
businesses involved in transforming a tree into a piece of furniture
would have to be FSC certified in order for that furniture piece to be
FSC certified.  It's called the "chain of custody":

  • Certified forest owner- Must employ a professional forester and
    develop a forest management plan which meets stringent ecological and
    social criteria
  • Certified logger and sawyer
  • Certified lumber wholesaler
  • Certified lumber retailer
  • Certified furniture maker
  • Certified furniture retailer

Benefits of FSC Certification
In my opinion, FSC provides the most rigorous certification process
available. It's widely considered the gold standard in sustainable
forestry and has moved the world forward in many areas of rainforest
conservation.


Copeland-fsc-harbor-island

Copeland's Harbor Island Furniture collection is handmade here in VT with FSC certified maple wood from local Vermont trees.

Challenges for FSC As you might expect FSC
certification involves extensive rule-making and auditing that can be
quite expensive (and controversial) to implement. It can add up to 50% to the price of the
end product although the hope is that this cost will decrease as FSC
certification becomes more mainstream. Still many small manufacturers
are unable to assume this cost and are thus not FSC certified.

 

Another
challenge for FSC is the rampant counterfeiting of FSC documentation
accompanying raw lumber that is being illegally clear cut from the
Amazon and other endangered areas of rainforest. Also FSC has been
criticized for being too lenient,
particularly with their policy allowing limited old growth logging.

Should You Buy Only FSC Certified Furniture?
Authentic FSC certified furniture is a responsible choice for the
eco-conscious homeowner. However there are many genuinely responsible,
green, eco-friendly furniture makers who are not FSC certified due to
the red tape and expense involved. Conversely there is a large market of fake, FSC
labeled furniture that comes to us through layers of corruption
and counterfeiting.

In Vermont, many of us who were certified by FSC for years have been moving away from it lately.  Not because we don't support the ideal, but because we have so many other systems in place that effectively ensure our furniture is authentically green and sustainable.  At Vermont Woods Studios not all of our furniture is FSC certified, but it is all made from sustainably harvested wood from local and regional forests. 

If FSC certification is important to you, check out Copeland's Harbor Island Furniture collection.  It's handmade here in VT with FSC certified maple from local Vermont trees.  And let us know on our Facebook or in the comments section below how you feel about FSC certification.

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Vermont’s Lyndon Furniture: What Makes It Eco Friendly?

June 6th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh


Lyndon-furniture-vt-green-eco

Lyndon Furniture's green practices start with using sustainably harvested North American lumber sourced locally and regionally.

Vermont's Lyndon Furniture is one of America's most admired eco-friendly furniture companies.  We've been partnering with Lyndon for many years and often customers ask "just what is it that makes Lyndon Furniture so green?"

 

 

We put the question to our friend Dave Allard, Lyndon's owner and founder and below are a few of his comments.  We'll follow up with more tomorrow.

 

Use of Local Woods – At Lyndon Furniture "green" practices start with our Purchasing Policy.  We purchase wood through responsible local partners, thus minimizing transport distances and helping our regional economy. This policy greatly reduces fuel usage and carbon emissions.

Sustainably Harvested Woods – The hardwoods we utilize at Lyndon are grown and harvested within a 500 mile radius of our shop. Some are even harvested less than two miles away, from my own property. This is unlike furniture imported from China or other places where the lumber might be sourced from thousands of miles away in Africa or South America, thus consuming great amounts of energy in transit before timber is even received for furniture production.

 Green Technology – At Lyndon Furniture we utilize advanced technology and responsible manufacturing to maximize yield and reduce the amount of wood waste, making certain that all wood processing by-products are put to some use. For example, our sawdust is used by local farmers for animal bedding.

Pretty cool, right?  In Vermont nothing goes to waste.  It's part of our Yankee culture of ingenuity, innovation and oh yeah…thrift.  In Vermont "green furniture" is not a new promotional slogan.  Furniture making has always been this way up here and I'd guess it always will be.  Vermonters just aren't very responsive to passing trends.  It's more about quality, integrity and sustainability in VT.

We'll post a few other green characteristics of Lyndon's eco friendly furniture tomorrow.

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