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Environmental Sustainable Products Council to Meet

By Home Furnishings Business in on February 2006 Started last October at the High Point Market, the Sustainable Furniture Council is making strides toward changes in the furniture industry by encouraging manufacturers to promote sustainable forestry and sourcing practices.

The council is planning a meeting during April market in High Point, but the time and place has not yet been determined.

Since the last meeting, Gerry Cooklin, chief executive of South Cone Furniture and the founder of the SFC, said all of the company's that attended have been contacted about membership levels and benefits.

"The response has been fantastic," he said. "We are also developing a memorandum of understanding with the Rainforest Alliance, that spells out the assistance and benefits they can offer to Council members."

The alliance works with companies and organizations in bringing responsibly produced goods to the marketplace.

"The Rainforest Alliance is very excited to see an industry led initiative to encourage and promote sustainable forestry and sourcing practices," said Daphne Hewitt, project manager for the Rainforest Alliance's TREES program. "We're looking forward to working with council members as they realize the benefits of this important initiative."

The SFC has two objectives – to assist manufacturers in adopting sustainable practices, and to promote sustainable products.

Cooklin said to meet the first objective, the SFC will guide members to full certification under wood harvesting standards established by the Forest Stewardship Council – the most respected sustainability standards in the world.

"Members who achieve certification will then join together to educate consumers about the value of sustainable products and show retailers how sustainable furniture raises their profile with a very desirable consumer demographic," Cooklin said. "The market for sustainable goods is growing quickly."

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