Initiative coincides with new website and launch of SFC Academy and virtual learning platform planned for early 2024
HIGH POINT — The Sustainable Furnishings Council has unveiled a rebrand of the organization that aims to provide educational opportunities to members regarding sustainability and how the industry can embrace that concept through best practices.
The shift ties in with the SFC’s recently obtained status as a 501(c)(3) organization that focuses on education as a core principle of its mission. Although the group previously offered educational opportunities, the IRS status creates a more formal framework in which the organization can develop and expand on these initiatives.
In addition to a new logo that can be interpreted to be a leaf, a tree or even a green building with a pyramid-shaped roof, the SFC also has revamped its website to be able to accomplish key educational goals moving forward.
“Even though it’s very similar to what we were doing before, we are now that legal IRS entity that really opens up more opportunities for us to grow our program that can really help move the needle — which is the whole mission of the organization,” Scarlette Tapp, executive director, told Home News Now. “So along with that, we needed a new brand and definitely a more robust website to be able to handle all the things that we wanted to offer the home furnishings industry.”
Designed by Greensboro-based web developer and photographer Scott Pope, the revamped website includes tabs that describe the organization — Who We Are, What We Do — along with steps companies can take to get involved whether it be becoming a member, donating to the cause or becoming a sponsor. The Who We Are tab in particular is key in that it introduces visitors to board members, member companies, sponsors and other business partners.
A separate section of the site also describes key SFC goals for the home furnishings industry, namely demonstrating “a significant and measurable reduction in the use of carbon, water, waste and harmful chemical inputs” by 2030.
A Sustainable Stories tab gives members an opportunity to tell what they are doing to become more sustainable in their product lines and overall business practices. It also features news and developments including the SFC’s latest Wood Furniture Scorecard published just after the October High Point Market.
The SFC Academy is the educational component, describing key aspects of sustainability including carbon and waste best practices, water best practices, social best practices and more. Another key component of this is a new virtual learning academy that the SFC plans to launch in early 2024.
While noting that the SFC is not a third-party certifier that identifies a company’s particular practices as sustainable, Tapp noted that the academy will offer educational opportunities where members can obtain continuing education credits for individual courses they take as well as general education courses in sustainability in the home furnishings industry. As part of this effort, Tapp noted, the SFC aims to keep the information current related to the science of sustainability along with various ways companies can be more sustainable in their approach to products and business practices.
“It will be updated and really have more in-depth information,” she said of a certificate course the SFC is developing similar to its previous Green Leaders educational offering. “The science changes with sustainability and innovations are happening in different sectors that want to serve this industry or others. … So we are the only organization that is at the forefront to bring those tools — the education, the networking — with everything together in one place.”
The Sustainable Stories segment, she noted, is a further aspect of the educational nature of the site as it will allow members to share some of their own sustainable initiatives.
“We believe our members learn from each other,” she noted. “They are all leaders in sustainability as they join our coalition but they all love to share their knowledge of how they did it. Our members have been really wonderful in engaging with us.”