Thursday, October 24, 2013

About The Sustainable Furniture Council

Unless you’re involved in the interior design or furniture manufacturing industry or are deeply involved in the green movement, you may not have heard of the Sustainable Furniture Council.  However, they are an organization worth getting to know.

The Sustainable Furniture Council (recently renamed the Sustainable Furnishings Council) is a non-profit group of suppliers, manufacturers, retailers, and designers formed to promote sustainable practices in their industry.  Members of the SFC believe that we’re facing dangerous global climate changes and it’s our responsibility to take action.  They believe in taking steps to minimize carbon emissions, waste stream pollutants, un-recyclable content and primary materials from unsustainable sources.

The SFC Life Cycle Assessment 

The Life Cycle Assessment, or LCA, is a system of requirements that must be met to qualify for FTC environmental marketing guides and attorney general green guides.  Meaning, you cannot say you’re environmentally friendly without having gone through a life cycle assessment to prove you are.  It’s a standardization process to make sure all claims are valid and all products are equal.

So What is a Life Cycle Assessment?

In order to obtain sustainable product certification, the LCA identifies twelve environmental benefits or impacts including:

English: Streamlined Life Cycle Assessment Mat...
Streamlined Life Cycle Assessment Matrix for all alternatives (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
1. Global Warming
2. Acidification
3. Ozone Depletion
4. Eutrophication, (the effect on our water supply when it receives too many nutrients from chemical fertilizers and run off)
5. Photochemical Smog
6. Human Health
7. Ecological Toxicity
8. Fossil Fuel Depletion
9. Habitat Alteration
10. Criteria Air Pollutants
11. Water Intake
12. Solid and Hazardous Waste

How does the LCA affect the SFC? 

The SFC believe that the LCA is the best method for analyzing the environmental impact of their products, which include all the materials that go into their products.  They have goals that include:

* Raising awareness of the sustainability issue
* Assisting companies in adopting good practices
* Serving as an information clearing house for sustainability
* Creating a symbol of assurance for consumers (companies and products can obtain an SFC member certification to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability and environmentally-friendly practices)

The SFC really does support what they call the triple bottom line of PEOPLE - PLANET – PROFITS.  They’re leaders in the industry and are setting the standards in sustainable furniture and design manufacturing. You can find more about them on their website:

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