When buying wooden furniture, most people pay a great deal of attention to quality of the wood and workmanship, style, functionality, etc., however, they often tend to ignore eco-friendliness.
It may be true that wood itself is not harming the environment but the way it is sourced often does.
The recent research on the origin of the wood that is used for making furniture has revealed that the UK market is overflown with furniture that is made from illegal wood, especially the cheap imports from the Far East.
Before you buy wooden furniture, look for a certificate which guarantees that the wood is sourced in sustainably managed plantations because:
1. Illegal logging is causing an irreparable damage to the environment on both local and global level. The world’s forests provide food and shelter to more than 50% of all known plant and animal species and by losing the world’s forests, we are therefore also losing biodiversity.
At the same time, the forests play an important role in erosion, flood and landslide control as well as in global climate. They are the lungs of the Earth because they absorb carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases and release pure oxygen.
With the world’s forests continuing to disappear at the current rates, we do not have the slightest chance against the climate change.
2. Illegal wooden furniture is often made from inferior quality timber with little attention to quality of workmanship.
Unethical furniture manufacturers who consciously use illegally harvested wood are motivated exclusively by profit. They often use inferior quality timber that is chemically treated to make it look like the highest quality wood and use the cheapest production processes with little or no attention to quality.
Illegal wooden furniture typically attracts the buyers with considerably lower prices, however, it is also possible to find cheaply made pieces of furniture which are sold at the price of high quality furniture.
3. Illegal wooden furniture is threatening the stability of the global economy. Illegal logging and furniture making are closely connected with money laundering, organised crime and corruption.
Environmentally conscious companies simply cannot compete with the cheap imports in the terms of pricing. Many companies forced to shut their doors due to the unloyal competition with many more struggling to stay in the business.
4. Illegal logging prevents the local communities from escaping the cycle of poverty. As mentioned earlier, illegal logging goes hand in hand with corruption and organised crime but it is often also accompanied by serious violations of human rights.
The local communities which are hired either to harvest wood or make furniture are often working in dangerous and even life-threatening conditions for a miserably low wage which does not enable them to support their families.