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.

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

 

Green-decor-tree-house

This tree house looks a lot different from the one in my back yard. Architect Scott Anderson of The Anderson Studio of Architecture and Design created a zen-like dwelling incorporating a live-edge side table, root-ball bases on the coffee table and natural finishe into the green decor.

In browsing through my weekly Houzz Tour I came across this incredible tree house designed by architect Scott Anderson of The Anderson Studio of Architecture and Design.  Fellow green furniture fans, check it out! 

I send my thanks to blogger Becky Harris for featuring the South Carolina, Kiawah Island retreat on Houzz, the world's latest and greatest interior design website. 

I love the tree house's clean, green, Zen-like decor.  "The great room feels like some sort of natural habitat; besides the great views, a live-edge side table, root-ball bases on the coffee table, plants, natural finishes and plenty of open space connect the space to its surroundings" notes Becky.

As live edge furniture makers and natural finish afficionados we stood up and cheered when we saw this green respite in the trees of Kiawah Island.  Congratulations to Anderson Studio for achieving the ultimate in tree house decor!

And speaking of tree houses, I couldn't close without mentioning James Roth, cofounder of The Treehouse Guys in Warren, Vermont.  Roth and his company have built 34 wheelchair accessible treehouses in private camps and public parks across the country.  Have a look at some of Roths amazing works of art that let everyone, "no matter their physical ability, experience the joy of what it’s like to ‘climb’ and be at the top of a treehouse.”

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Lyndon-furniture-vt-usaYesterday I wrote about Vermont's Lyndon Furniture, one of America's most admired green furniture companies– and one that has remained in America throughout the offshoring exodus of the last 40 years.

Lyndon's owner and founder, Dave Allard is shown here in Vermont's Green Mountain Forest with some of his hardwood creations.

We interviewed Dave yesterday to learn more about why Lyndon Furniture is considered one of America's greenest furniture companies and here's the second half of Dave's response:

Sustainably Harvested Hardwoods – Lyndon furniture is made with choice hardwoods such as natural Cherry, Maple, Oak, or Walnut which are harvested through sustainable forestry practices. The predominant method is Single Tree Selection where trained foresters select individual trees for harvesting. The cut logs are then removed with the least disruption to the surrounding environment. This method creates openings in the forest canopy allowing more precipitation, sunlight, and nutrients to reach the forest floor ensuring the health of other trees. Responsible forest management takes into consideration long term timber production, while addressing water quality, wildlife habitat, biodiversity, forest aesthetics and recreational opportunities. The same can’t always be said for Asian or Rainforest woods where responsible forest management practices often take a back seat to maximizing profits.

Green Furniture Finishes – Lyndon's furniture finishes and stains are all made in Vermont. Vermont has some of the strictest environmental laws in the country which coincide with our views and respect of nature. Consequently our finishes have far lower VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) and HAPs (Hazardous Air Pollutants) than current American industry standards, and far exceed the standards of imported products.

Sustainable Manufacturing – Lyndon Furniture has an extensive recycling program. We recycle paper, cardboard, metal and wood waste. Most materials (with the exception of the wood waste) are picked up by our local recycling center for proper material reintegration. Wood scrap is utilized as a biomass heating source (which has allowed Lyndon to drastically reduce oil usage) while sawdust is used by local farms for animal bedding. We have also made significant investments in energy efficiency to reduce our costs, and more importantly our carbon footprint. 

At a time when it seems every furniture company is "going green" it's nice to know that Lyndon Furniture and their fellow Vermont furniture makers actually have a history of using green practices from the start.

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.


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.

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

 

Vermont-picnic-planet

Have and Earth Day Lunch and join us at our Green Up Your Workplace Challenge on Facebook

 

 

 

Since Earth Day is on Sunday this year, we decided to have our Vermont Woods Studios Earth Day party today.  Here are a few photos of the crew indulging in local, organic food from The Works, a cafe, bakery and deli in Brattleboro.

 

We love the food and the people at the Works but we also like their green brand.

 

 

 

Local-craftsmanship

The Works Deli in Brattleboro VT was built with reclaimed barnwood and other recycled materials

 

 

 

This sign on the wall at the back of the deli tells where all the recycled materials that make up the store came from.  Furniture and cabinetry were made by our friend Chad Woodruff of Woodruff Custom Furniture here in Vernon, VT.  Chad used old tractor seats and scythe handles for chairs.

The vintage steel lighting at the Works was salvaged from from an old amusement park in Rye, New York. 

The menu is written on an old slate chalkboard reclaimed from Northfield Mount Hermon School, in Northfield MA.

They just used a lot of imagination in designing and building the Works and everyone in Brattleboro loves going there for the good green vibe.

 

So here's another idea for our "Greening Up Your Workplace" Challenge on Facebook– have an Earth Day lunch with natural food from a local restaurant or deli.

 

 

 

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.