During the Salone del Mobile 2023, the week that the city of Milan dedicates to the Design and Furniture sectors, the World Sustainability Organization, through its Friend of the Earth® project, will be launching a new certification standard – Sustainable Furniture – designed specifically for manufacturers who create interior design objects with respect for the environment.
Unlike most certifications in the sector, Friend of the Earth®’s Sustainable Furniture includes several criteria in a single logo: for example, environmental impact, emissions and social responsibility. This translates into greater immediacy for producers, who can easily convey their message of sustainability in various forms. In turn, consumers will have greater assurance through third-party checks carried out by Friend of the Earth®. The certification logo is easily recognizable, and the message is intuitive, thus allowing the consumer to make an informed choice at the time of purchase.
Friend of the Earth® is a World Sustainability Organization (WSO) project. The WSO was founded with the mission of preserving the planet’s resources, restoring critical habitats and protecting endangered species through certification activities, awareness and its foundation’s projects. Friend of the Earth® works to promote sustainable farming practices and the certification of products from agriculture that respects both the environment and biodiversity.
Under the new scheme, a piece of furniture can feature the Friend of the Earth® logo if it is made from recycled materials or from a proven sustainable source. Materials of wooden origin must also comply with the Friend of the Earth® Sustainable Forestry certification, for sustainable forest management or, alternatively, comply with equivalent certification criteria already in place such as FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) or PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification). The processing and finishing must then be carried out with the aim of reducing the environmental impact while taking into consideration the principles of social responsibility. Furthermore, both the furniture and the structure built must be completely and easily recyclable at the end of their useful life.
As with the other Friend of the Earth® standards, an independent audit will verify these and other requirements, including proof that the company has reduced its volume of packaging materials, which must all be recyclable, it has built the product to last on average as long as or more than the average of similar furniture on the market, and that it can demonstrate the ease of replacement and maintenance of the main parts. Should the furniture also consist of an electronic part, it must be classified as being the most efficient in terms of energy performance.
The new standard will be officially presented during the week dedicated to the Salone del Mobile fair, from 18 to 23 April, in the WSO store, Sustainable Friends, in Galleria Passarella 1, in Milan. For this occasion, the space designed to promote the culture of sustainable development will be exhibiting some furnishing elements made by the first companies that have passed an initial verification of the requirements contained in the Friend of the Earth® Sustainable Furniture certification scheme.
During the fair, Sustainable Friends will become the reference point for both experts and curious people on the subject of sustainable design, with the aim of exchanging knowledge and community awareness activities which are the basis of the store’s reason for being. Interviews will be held, and industry representatives will be invited to share their advice on how to make truly sustainable “beyond the claim” furniture choices.
“Friend of the Earth® certification for sustainable furniture and interior design enables manufacturers to inform customers of their commitment to reducing their impact on the environment and enables consumers to make responsible purchasing choices,” said Paolo Bray, founder and director of Friend of the Earth®.
“Friend of the Earth® certified products and services also support conservation programmes and awareness activities around the world, thanks to the work of the World Sustainability Foundation, the WSO’s non-profit arm. When you buy a Friend of the Earth® certified piece of furniture, you are not only assured that it has been made in a sustainable manner, but you also contribute to the protection of endangered species and habitats.”