SFC releases wood furniture scorecard

HIGH POINT – The Sustainable Furnishings Council (SFC) and The National Wildlife Federation have released the 2023 Wood Furniture Scorecard, a joint initiative that assesses North American furniture retailers on their wood sourcing policies.

This year’s scorecard highlights that more retailers are searching for manufacturers that use certified or reclaimed wood in their furniture, while some are severing ties with vendors that are not offering sustainable wood products. The goal of the Wood Furniture Scorecard, now in its sixth year, is to encourage furniture retailers, big or small, to implement policies that drive responsible wood sourcing practices through their complex supply chains.

Since its inception, the scorecard has tracked a noticeable, more sustainable shift in the behavior of some home furnishings retailers. This year, as in every year, several scored retailers adopted corporate policies that help protect forests. These companies acknowledge the value in taking the time to perform due diligence regarding the source of the materials in the furniture they sell.

Top and high scoring retailers are requesting more documentation from their vendors such as where the wood comes from, chemical inputs, and social equity aspects regarding conditions of the manufacturing facility. These companies are searching for more certified or reclaimed wood vendors than those with lower scores.

The related flip side of the 2023 trend is that top and high scoring retailers are not only seeking out more sustainable partners, but are cutting ties with manufacturers that make furniture with wood that is not certified, FSC-certified, or reclaimed. While some retailers have built sustainability into their public corporate policies, others are listening to their customers who have followed the scorecard over the years, understanding the need to buy furniture that has been built with wood that does not contribute to deforestation.

“The Wood Furniture Scorecard was designed to move the proverbial needle in an industry that has been a major contributor to illegal wood sourcing and deforestation,” explains SFC Executive Director Scarlette Tapp. “The Scorecard is a tool that helps push the industry from the inside, as well as from the outside through consumer awareness. The furniture-buying public increasingly wants to know about the origins of their furniture.”

“The 2023 Wood furniture Scorecard demonstrates that more furniture retailers are taking responsibility for their role in wood harvesting, understanding how they can contribute to the well-being of forests and the promotion of sustainability,” said Barbara Bramble, vice president of international conservation and corporate strategies at the National Wildlife Federation. “These instances underscore the vital influence that consumers and retailers possess in tackling the ongoing issue of unsustainable logging, which poses
a constant threat to forests across the globe.”

This year, of the 127 companies assessed, 9 earned Top Scores, 26 earned High Scores, and one company earned Most Improved. Cisco Home, a sustainability stalwart with an FSC Chain of Custody (CoC) certificate, one of two companies awarded the most points, tied with relative newcomer fiVO Design, who uses only 100% FSC-certified wood. Both retailers attained a score of 35 out of a possible 39 points.

Model No. Furniture, also an FSC CoC holder, came in a close second with a score of 34 points. Rounding out the three top scores is Crate & Barrel with a score of 32.

The High Scorers, achieving 20-28 points, are led by FORMR, The Arrangement, and The RE Store. All three companies were awarded 28 points. The Most Improved Score goes to Boston Interiors, which increased their score by 13 points in the last year.

The methodology of the Wood Furniture Scorecard, updated every year, focuses on information available in the public domain on corporate websites regarding wood sourcing policies, goals, and practices. In addition, the Scoring Team reaches out individually to each retailer to ensure all relevant scoring information has been considered. Through this outreach, we offer recommendations and resources for developing and implementing robust wood-sourcing policies, including the elements necessary to ensure that the company addresses the problem of deforestation and forest degradation.

The Wood Furniture Scorecard website provides consumers with sustainability information on their favorite retailers and offers guidance and tools for companies to improve and implement their wood sourcing policies. To learn more, visit: https://furniturescorecard.nwf.org/

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