Your choice of chaise lounge could do more than fancy up your deck. Ensure your outdoor furniture also protects tropical forests by looking for the Forest Stewardship Council logo, which means the wood is traceable to a sustainably managed forest.
Due to the global demand for tropical-wood products, forests in Indonesia, Malaysia, Brazil and similar climates are being depleted, endangering bird species that depend on those forests.
America is the world’s largest single importer of wooden furniture, with garden furniture representing one-fifth of the wooden-furniture market — thus, the furniture purchase you make this summer could impact the rest of the world.
“Because Americans buy more wood and paper than any other country in the world, we can play a major role in helping to protect forest ecosystems and the wildlife and people who depend on them,” says Corey Brinkema, president of FSC-US.
The National Wildlife Federation catalogs retailers selling FSC-certified garden furniture with its Garden Furniture Scorecard. It’s the most rigorous system for distinguishing wood products in the market. This year, the list of retailers includes Cost Plus World Market, Crate and Barrel, The Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Pottery Barn. These companies scored four stars or better, meaning more than 70 percent of their tropical-wood garden furniture comes from responsible sources; retailers who scored less than four stars have demonstrated a plan to improve.
Buying an FSC product assures that the source of wood has gone through an annual audit of rigorous environmental and social standards performed by an independent company. In addition, FSC products reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save energy at all steps of production.