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Intrest In SFC Swells At Las Vegas Market

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The Sustainable Furniture Council announced that they ended a busy week at the Winter Las Vegas Market on a high note. In Las Vegas, they partnered with World Market Center in presenting the “Brave New World” Educational Series, a week-long schedule of seminars covering topics such as FSC-certified wood, Standards, organic fabrics, a 10-Step action plan, and a panel discussion. The seminars were well-attended and well-received, with as many as 100 participants at individual events. The organization has been fast-growing, with membership now numbering nearly 200 and hundreds of additional serious inquiries received at their booth inside the Living Green Pavilion at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. “It’s been quite a ride,” says SFC founder and current president Gerry Cooklin. “The whole green movement has really taken off in the past year, and we have been nearly overwhelmed by escalating response.” The SFC celebrated numerous accomplishments in 2007, including incorporating as a non-profit, developing educational programming, and their most important work, the development of their draft Standards for the entire industry. Standards were developed with numerous participants on their internal Standards Committee representing a wide variety of stakeholders, including major manufacturers, retailers, and expert members of the Rainforest Alliance and World Wildlife Fund. The process was guided by Mike Italiano, co-founder of the U.S. Green Building council and co-developer of the universally lauded and accepted LEED Standards for the commercial building sector. The SFC draft Standards were published for peer review at High Point in October 2006 after incorporating comments from a group of seven other major NGO’s. That process is now complete, and the final 2008 Standards are being released at this press conference. “The SFC Standards are 5 years ahead of where we were with the USGBC at the same point in the organization’s development,” according to Italiano, “We fought the good fight then to make sure that we remained true to our mission, free from partisan bias, and that effort provided the foundation for our work at the SFC.” The organization regards the general adoption of their consensus Standards as the most crucial goal for 2008 to avoid potential green washing and consumer confusion, a significant concern for government as well and something that is legislated and actively monitored. They are also developing a manufacturer tagging program at the company level for those who have demonstrated clearly defined Exemplary performance. This will be part of a big push to give retailers the tools they need to build awareness among consumers. The SFC is a balanced coalition of manufacturers, retailers, designers, trade press, and NGO’s committed to promoting sustainable practices throughout the furniture industry. Founded in October 2006, the organization champions consensus standards, awareness, and education.

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