Furniture maker pioneers timber rating scheme

London-based furniture retailer, Chest of Drawers, has launched a new rating system to help customers understand the environmental impact of the furniture they buy. It is now lobbying for the system to be adopted industry-wide.

Developed with NGO and industry input, the rating system assesses each furniture item according to the wood source, workshop practices and furniture miles.

Each piece is awarded points based on compliance with ten criteria. Products are labelled with an environmental card explaining the system to consumers.

The company carries out its own assessments through supplier questionnaires, requests for evidence and on-site visits. It also makes all data available to the public.

"There are some good initiatives in the pipeline from specialist NGOs such as the Forest Stewardship Council and WWF, but we feel it is incumbent on retailers like ourselves to take up the gauntlet and move towards sustainability today," said Chest of Drawers director Kim Corbett.

The company has already dropped three suppliers who could not show an intention to improve production methods. It is working closely with other suppliers to their improve performance.

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