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SFC Changes Name To Sustainable Furnishings Council

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The Sustainable Furniture Council announced two major developments as they prepare for the second half of the year. Effective immediately, the SFC is changing its full name to the Sustainable Furnishings Council better to reflect the diversity of its growing membership. The non-profit coalition of suppliers, manufacturers, importer, retailers and designers is now approaching 300 members representing every facet of the home furnishings industry. While still focused on residential furnishings, the group has important constituents in accessories, lighting, rugs, and others, and the SFC wants to make it clear that they are capable of servicing the needs of this diverse group. “It’s something that we have talked about for a while, and we are excited to be making the change” says Susan Inglis, SFC Executive Director, “As the organization has evolved, we have attracted many members outside of traditional furniture lines who are eager for the services and recognition that we can provide. This is a tribute to them and any others in wider world of home furnishings who are so inclined.” The SFC has also concluded a broad-based consumer study of awareness, attitudes, and interests regarding green issues in the home furnishings industry. It was intended to quantify topics that have generated common speculation but not hard data such as current levels of activation, purchase interest, and price sensitivity. Overall, the study found that many consumers are planning to reduce spending on furniture in the next year, restoring an emphasis on long-lasting quality and fair price as significant motivations about equal to style. Environmental concerns are lower on the list, but about half report that they are at least very interested in global warming and have started doing what they can, with the #1 action being to buy green products in a variety of categories. Very few have bought green home furnishings, largely due to the lack of awareness and/or availability of options at their stores. Importantly, however, a significant number would be interested in buying this type of products if they liked the style and cost about the same. The strong suggestion is that there is a market for green home furnishings that will continue to grow over time, though style, quality, and pricing will remain the main drivers as they are in the general market. According to Jeff Hiller, SFC Marketing Chair, based on his 10 years of experience in national new product introductions, the study forecasts a success rate of 30% for green home furnishings introductions where the consumer liked the style and the cost was about the same as other options. “This is the threshold number for successful launches,” adds Hiller, “Consumers are there. It’s now up to manufacturers and retailers to deliver acceptable choices.” The study is available by subscription at $50 for SFC members, $100 for non-members by contacting Susan Inglis at susan@sfcgreen.org.

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