The Sustainable Furnishings Council (SFC) is defining a new standard for retailers—something members feel has been lacking in the market.
A committee of SFC board members and prominent retailers including Steve Freeman of Room & Board, Christina Nicholson of Williams-Sonoma Group, Peggy Burns of Circle Furniture, SFC founder Gerry Cooklin, Laurie Messman of Ligne Roset, and Tom Megna of NatEco put together a 'green retailer' point list. The list covers areas such as energy conservation, on-site recycling programs, wood sourcing, use of reclaimed materials, training and education. It is intended to recognize those companies that are already employing a variety of sustainable practices, giving consumers a sign of assurance they can look for, as well as to provide guidance of best practices for those retailers trying to improve.
“We are delighted to participate in developing and releasing the first, credible sustainable Retailer standards,” says Mitchell Gold, SFC Board member. “We had been admirers of the work of the SFC for some time, and it has been a tremendous experience for me to become personally involved and make such a profound contribution to the entire industry. We hope others follow our lead in joining the cause, something we at Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams have passionately supported for years.”
The SFC was founded in October 2006 with the express purpose of uniting raw materials suppliers, manufacturers, retailers and designers in the common cause of improving the sustainability of the home furnishings industry. The first order of business was to establish credible standards defining what it means to be sustainable, borrowing the template of the highly successful U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED model which recognizes levels of Silver, Gold and Platinum Exemplary performance based on points earned in a menu list of possible choices. The SFC instituted such a system and it has been widely adopted as the consensus standard throughout the industry with as many as 15 manufacturers having earned Exemplary status since its inception.
In addition to its work in setting standards, the SFC remains the primary source for market education, providing certified training at major trade shows and via webinar and online for manufacturers, reps, designers and retail sales staff. The focus is on providing a fundamental understanding of the environmental issues related to home furnishings, product based solutions and the knowledge to translate this information in a compelling manner to customers and clients. SFC has graduated more than 550 participant from the GREENleaders Certified Sustainability Training program, something it will be offering again at World Market Center Las Vegas.