Look around your house or apartment. How much of what you see is made from wood? From the chair you sit in, to the bed you sleep on, to the antique wardrobe passed down from your grandmother – all of this furniture started its life as a tree in a forest.
Many things have happened to it since then. The tree was harvested, years or even decades ago. The wood was handled and shaped by craftsmen. It was transported, and sold. And now, it’s a part of your home. You touch it, you see it, every day.
Forests provide us with so much. From cleaning and oxygenating our air, to generating rainfall for our agriculture, forests are essential to the way that we live our lives.
They also support to the livelihoods of approximately 1.6 billion people, according to the FAO. Forests grow the wood that we use in construction, and to make beautiful, long-lasting furniture. But in return, what do we all owe forests?
At a minimum, PEFC believes that forests need to be respected as what they truly are to us – a home. And with forests under threat from land use change and climate change, it has become more important than ever for us to protect that home.
That’s why PEFC is championing sustainable forest management around the world, and why we are launching an awareness campaign specifically for wooden furniture – “Forests are Home”.
Forests are Home was launched on 15 September. Hundreds of furniture retailers, manufacturers, foresters, and associations from 46 different countries around the world joined us for the event, which included a panel discussion with panellists from the International Forestry Students’ Association (IFSA), the ASEAN Furniture Industry Council (AFIC), Fournier Group, and PEFC UK. That discussion, as well as the entirety of the launch event, can be viewed here.
Fostering a Global Partnership
The global furniture trade has grown in value by a staggering 65% in the last decade, and today that industry is the third largest user of forest wood. That wood travels through a long and complex international supply chain on its way to become a part of your home. Thus, in the spirit of Sustainable Development Goal 17 (often called “the partnership for the goals”), PEFC launched its Forests are Home campaign, to bring together everyone involved in creating, designing and building furniture.
The campaign itself is a result of cooperation, and inclusion. Diverse perspectives from 12 different PEFC national members helped to form this campaign, with the participation of the ASEAN Furniture Industry Council (AFIC).
Now, using its convening power as a global organization, PEFC seeks to increase cooperation and partnership among disparate actors along the furniture supply chain. By making these actors aware of each other’s activities, PEFC can help them work together for sustainability across the entire supply chain.
To further this goal, PEFC has launched a website, devoted to sustainable furniture with resources for you, no matter what your role is: whether you are a forest owner, a manufacturer, a retailer, a consumer, an interior architect or a member of an association.
Reaching Sustainability through Certification
One important way to achieve sustainable forest management goals is by increasing the demand for certified wood under PEFC-certification. Certification is an inclusive, practical, and collaborative way to create permanent and ongoing protection of forests. The process is transparent and achievable, adapted to your local national context. And, perhaps most importantly for forest owners, furniture manufacturers and retailers, certification increases the value of products sold.
That’s also why PEFC’s Forests are Home campaign is both pro-furniture, and pro-forest. That is, protection of forests does not have to come at the expense of the furniture economy. We believe that certified wooden furniture is and should be part of a warm home. Purchasing PEFC-certified furniture is a meaningful way for consumers to add beauty to their homes, while also protecting forests.
Purchasing a product made of certified sustainable wood is not about minimizing harm, but rather actively protecting forests by providing livelihoods to those people that are directly connected to them as well as the biodiversity contained within. Certification empowers businesses to reach their sustainability goals, at the same time as fostering healthier local and ethnic minority communities, which often inhabit forests.
Give Meaning to Your home
As part of the Forests are Home campaign, PEFC has partnered with furniture retailers and manufacturers, to illustrate the connection between forests and furniture. Our aim is to celebrate best practices, and inspire people to take action, by showcasing their products within the forest ecosystem in which they were born.
Alun Watkins, the Executive Director of PEFC UK, notes that while most of the industry is already “ensuring that they do the right thing when purchasing timber, very few actually inform their customers about it or use certification logos, such as PEFC, to both raise awareness and display their credentials.” The Forests are Home campaign is here to help tell that story.
At the Forest are Home website you can browse these photo illustrations to see the inherently intimate relationship that we, as humans, have with both forests and furniture.