October 23rd, 2011 by Peggy Farabaugh
I remember travelling from Vermont to High Point, North Carolina exactly 5 years ago to meet with Gerry Cooklin of South Cone Furniture, Susan Inglis of "From The Mountain" (who is now the Executive Director of the Sustainable Furnishings Council, SFC) and a handful of visionaries. Our mission was to promote forest conservation in the furniture industry. That was Year 1 for Vermont Woods Studios Sustainable Furniture and the trip was instrumental in charting a course for our company.
I had read alot about Gerry and Susan before I attended the meeting. To me they were larger than life– and they still are. Five years ago though, they were the first in the industry to talk about the fact that Americans were unwittingly contributing to the decimation of endangered species of the forest (including all the big cats and great apes) by purchasing cheap imported furniture made from timber that was being clear cut from the worlds rainforests. Their pitch was for the formation of a furniture industry group that would promote healthy, sustainable practices particularly with regard to the use of responsibly harvested wood.
Since that meeting 5 years ago, Susan and Gerry have been successful in recruiting some 400 companies to join the SFC. There is much work left to be done, but these two champions of the forest are inspirational leaders in the green furniture movement and we are grateful for their relentless pursuit of sustainability in our industry.