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Harden Receives Silver Exemplary Status from Sustainable Furniture Council

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American furniture manufacturer Harden announced that it has attained Silver Exemplary Status from the Sustainable Furniture Council (SFC), becoming the first furniture manufacturer to achieve that honor. The Sustainable Furniture Council (SFC) was formed in 2006 to set standards for and promote environmentally sustainable practices within the home furnishings industry. The member-based organization is a broad-based coalition of non-profits, designers, sourcing agencies, media and manufacturers. The group is dedicated to helping the furniture industry establish practices that will help reverse global warming trends by minimizing carbon emissions, waste stream pollutants, non-recyclable content and primary materials made from unsustainable sources. To qualify for Silver Exemplary Status, manufacturers must participate in a rigorous application process and document adherence to the following criteria: - 15 to 25 percent of wood products must be FSC-Certified or equivalent - 1 to 25 percent of products other than wood are made from recycled or bio-based materials - Completion of “Carbon Footprint Report,” reviewing detailed analysis of energy output in operations - Positive impact on supply chain improvements as a result of efforts Harden scored additional points for sourcing and shipping its products within a 500-mile radius, which reduces carbon emissions; paying 100% of its employees a living wage; and creating The Living Canopy Program, a New York state-based educational initiative which also generates funds for land and water restoration efforts. With the new designation, Harden products will display SFC Silver Exemplary Status hang-tags at retail, a communication tool to help educate and inform consumers about its sustainable practices. “It’s exciting to be the first furniture manufacturer to be awarded an exemplary status,” said Greg Harden, president of the company. “We have always upheld a tradition of environmental stewardship at Harden, which over the years has included sustainable harvesting of trees in our own 20,000-acre woodland in upstate New York, maintaining an on-site Forestry Division and, in general, adhering to environmentally sound principles and practices.” Harden launched an upholstery collection at the October 2007 High Point Market featuring eco-friendly fabric. The line will grow this spring with the addition of five fabric options and one naturally processed leather option, to be shown at the April Market. Also beginning this market, Harden will make bio-based urethane foams a standard option for most of its seat cushions. Harden Furniture is a founding member of the SFC, and company president Greg Harden is on the Board of Directors. He additionally serves on the New York State Environmental Board, an appointment made by former Governor George Pataki. As early as 1997, the company was awarded the New York State Governor’s Award for pollution prevention, for an onsite project which reduced VOC emissions. Of the fifth-generation furniture executive, Chris Putnam, SFC Development Director, says, “Harden is really a believer in the sustainability movement. It’s a big deal to achieve the benchmarks needed for Silver Exemplary Status. We’re proud to have one of our charter members help us illustrate how the big picture can work. If all the pieces – from raw materials and resources, to operations and energy use, to social equity and vendor and customer relationships – are addressed within the context of sustainability, then the furniture industry can play a huge role in creating a better future for everyone.”

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