Our world has become increasingly sensitive to the environmental impact of our life styles and the interior design community is no exception. With clients requesting more sustainable options, it is hard to know what companies meet the requirements of these requests and what we as designers can do to better educate ourselves to serve these clients appropriately. One organization working to educate and advocate on this topic is the Sustainable Furnishings Council. To find out more about their organization and what it has to offer, we reached out to their past President, Steve Freeman, and this is what he had to say:
The Sustainable Furniture Council (SFC) firmly believes that good design can save the world. They know that our choices as we design products as well as interiors make a profound difference in sustaining a healthy future. In consumer products, 85% or so of the environmental impact of the product comes from choices in materials. Solid natural materials not only last longer than many synthetics, they also have a smaller footprint in production. For example, the choice of a solid wood in place of an engineered wood panel like MDF means much less energy consumption and also less pollution from other inputs, like adhesives. In furnishings, and we tend to put a finish on everything, this is another area where our choices make a difference to our immediate health, as well as to the health of future generations. When we design for reduced processing and use cleaner inputs, we are making an important sustainable design decision.
SFC encourages the design community to utilize them and its partners as a resource. Their website, sustainablefurnishings.org, contains a wealth of resources, including a finder on the homepage for locating specific products and services, and a rich resources section, with information on Waste Reduction & Recycling; Energy Use Reduction; Health & Environmental Safety; Awareness & Truth in Advertising; Material Choices. SFC also offers many opportunities for educational programming through our monthly webinar with the Sustainability Essentials series of FREE webinars for the industry. We also offer programs at all major industry events, such as High Point Market, and we offer customized training for our members, live or by webinar. Our core program is the residential furnishings industry’s only certificate program in sustainability, GREEN leaders, a 6-hour class carrying 6 CEUs through IDCEC and GBCI. We offer it in live classes several times a year, and online. We have a class scheduled for October 4 in Naples FL. Check out the website for other upcoming classes or for online course opportunities.
There are nearly 400 SFC member companies now, including suppliers of materials, manufacturers of all kinds of furnishings products, stores, interior design firms, and others. Member companies are large, medium, and small, and share a commitment to sustainability, to transparency, and to continuous improvement. Each member company has a landing age on the SFC website where you can see a description of their particular corporate commitment. The SFC encourage designers to use the resources and of course to become members of SFC.
In this ever changing world of choices in products, materials and selections, it has never been more important for the design community band together to insure the health, safety and wellbeing of our clients. The SFC is here to facilitate that effort.