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From Home Furnishing Business

Time to Act

Durable, well-made furniture with a longer lifespan is a healthy choice for the environment since it does not have to be replaced as frequently.

At some point there has been enough research and the time has come for action. Sustainability in the furniture industry has reached that point. In our research at the beginning of 2015 we documented the fact that more than 80 percent of consumers buying furniture would be interested in products manufactured using accepted sustainability practices.

A year ago, I issued a call to those connectors, the people who know large numbers of people and are in the habit of making introductions. These mavens are information specialists or people we rely on to connect us with new information. Sales people are persuaders, charismatic individuals with powerful negotiating skills. This group could make sustainability a part of the culture in residential furniture.

While the Sustainable Furnishings Council does an excellent job of educating and distributing material at each market, we need more than a small tent card to communicate to retailers. Manufacturers should proclaim the importance in showroom displays and in trade advertising.

For manufacturers of better quality goods, there is a marketing twist with sustainability. Purchasing furniture that can withstand prolonged use is another way to be sustainable. Durable, well-made furniture with a longer lifespan is a healthy choice for the environment since it does not have to be replaced as frequently. This concept was touted in a guide to living a sustainable life. However, the conclusion was to buy from a consignment store. I do not want that to happen.

Sustainability is important to the consumer. Now we must make it important to the retailers who present the product. I know there are retailers such as Room and Board, Circle Furniture, Crate & Barrel and others that have embraced the concept. We need more, and manufacturers and suppliers must lead the charge.

The concept of business managing the triple bottom line—financial, social, and environment—must be brought to the forefront. Is Ikea’s brand strength more than design and value? How important is its social and environmental stance?




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