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SFC Announces New Green Retailer Standard at Las Vegas Market

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After several months of concerted effort, the Sustainable Furnishings Council announced that it  is rolling out a new standard for recognizing exemplary performance on sustainability issues for retailers coinciding with the summer market at World Market Center Las Vegas.
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.
Now the SFC has applied the same rigor in defining a new standard more directly applicable to Retailers, something that has been generally lacking in the market. A committee was formed of prominent retailers, big and small, including SFC board members Steve Freeman of Room & Board, Christina Nicholson of Williams-Sonoma Group, and Peggy Burns of Circle Furniture, SFC founder Gerry Cooklin, Laurie Messman of Ligne Roset, and Tom Megna of NatEco. With their leadership and the help of many others, a point list was determined that 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 who 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. Detail is available at the SFC website here.
“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.”
In addition to its work in setting standards, the SFC remains the primary source for market education, providing certified training at major trade shows, 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.
For information on standards, membership or certified training, please contact
admin@sustainablefurnishings.org or 919-967-1137.

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