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Green is beauty: sustainability in the new wood-furniture sector

11 September 2020

A response to the crisis, a challenge for the future: this is the opening of Symbola's GreenItaly report https://www.symbola.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/GreenItaly-19-WEB-08-11-19. pdf, a study published a few months before the outbreak of the pandemic that would change our lives forever. In the document, numbers confirm Italy as one of the best countries for high-co-efficiency and eco-trend efforts, with an impressive +10 compared to the European average. Improvements in terms of use of raw materials lead this process, which grew by 10% compared to the aggregate reference.

What remains of those efforts after March 9, the day Italy lockdown, and in the reopening phases that followed? Very little, one could say - or a lot. In reality, the pandemic has temporarily halted commitments must be considered fundamental and can no longer be postponed. First of all, the green conversion of processes and materials used.

If we stick to raw materials like wood and their supply chain, only one consideration is applicable: the pandemic originated from the forest - or better, from the destruction of natural forest habitats, the spread of infected animals and their contact with human beings. An estimation produced by Federlegno and Conlegno underlines that 30% of the timber imported in Europe from non-EU countries has illegal or non-traceable origin, while Italy is the third importer in Europe (just after United Kingdom and Germany) of this raw material, with more than 20 million tons. Italian wood-furniture sector counts more than 8,000 companies and more than 500 of those (+10% compared to 2018) have recently decided to obtain FSC certification to ensure the origin of the wood-based materials, thus supporting a virtuous, transparent and legal supply chain.

A stronger focus on the origin of wood is therefore inextricably linked to the reduction of environmental impacts and, even more, to biodiversity conservation strategies, contrasting illegal practices and fighting against new forms of pathogens. But it is - and must increasingly be - one of the main axes of a new wood-furniture and Made in Italy concepts, which combine style, design and quality with conscious, sustainable choices.

Valuing best practices

In order to promote the use of wood from sustainable sources and reward companies that have already committed to this path, in 2019 the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) Italy launched the first Furniture Award https://it.fsc.org/it-it/projects/fsc-italia-award-furniture, reserved for companies operating in the indoor and outdoor furniture sector. The award is aimed at all FSC-certified companies based in Italy and San Marino which made at least one FSC-certified production in the last three years, selected according to 10 categories (Living and accommodation; sleeping area; bathroom furniture; kitchen; furniture for shops and clubs; furniture for communities; outdoor furniture for private sector, outdoor furniture for public areas, hotels and public places) and features 5 special mentions (environmental sustainability, communication, labeling, chain of custody and small companies), which recognize broader strategies of social and environmental responsibility.

The 2019 edition winners represent the excellence of the Italian wood-furniture sector, including companies such as Calligaris, Media Profili, Snaidero, Composad, Mattiazzi, Arper and Foppapedretti, who decided to go for the green way as an element of differentiation and competitiveness.



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