“I challenge the industry to stop destroying the environment and join me in developing cooperative, sustainable business practices that will meet the changing consumer demands for greater corporate responsibility,” CEO Gerry Cooklin wrote in the widely distributed letter, which invited recipients to attend an informational breakfast sponsored by South Cone during the upcoming High Point International Home Furnishings Market on Oct. 20.
Cooklin is hoping to spur interest in the Sustainable Furniture Council (SFC), a new group of industry leaders aiming to raise the bar for corporate responsibility the furniture business. “This group will define the future of sustainable furniture manufacturing. We will model the practices that all manufacturers should be following,” said Cooklin.
“Consumer awareness is quickly shifting, with the growing interest in organic food and the dramatic rise in energy costs,” Cooklin wrote. “It will be only a short time before this translates to the furniture industry. Companies who are adopters now will reap the benefits when the tipping point comes. The American public is changing its attitude about purchasing. Consumers are becoming increasingly aware, and demanding to know that the products they buy reflect their own personal values of social and environmental responsibility.”
Efforts like this seem to be making a difference: witness the success of the Forest Stewardship Council, for instance, with the building industry. The business community is waking up to the possibilities of combining sustainable practices with profitability; as long as this message is repeated within the business community, in addition to efforts by non-profits, government and activists, I don’t see why that shouldn’t continue.