Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC) has announced the winners of the fourth FSC Furniture Awards. In keeping with its motto “Better living, healthy forests”, FSC rewarded companies in the European furniture sector to recognize their commitment to sustainability. The ceremony was held at the ADI Design Museum in Milan.
“The winners have demonstrated their exceptional commitment to sustainability of their raw materials,” said Alexia Schrott, FSC Italy Marketing Manager and Furniture Awards project manager. “They chose FSC certification to prove that, and FSC recognises their commitment with these awards.”
The official award ceremony took place today in Milan at the ADI Museum, preceded by a roundtable discussion on challenges and opportunities in the wood-furniture sector. Among the attendees were: Antonella Andriani, Associazione per il Disegno Industriale (ADI) Vice President; Omar Degoli, President of the Circular Economy group of the European Furniture Industries Confederation (EFIC); Maria Porro, President of the Salone del Mobile; Jeremy Harrison, Chief Markets Officer of FSC International; Diego Florian, Director of FSC Italy.
Award winners in the three main categories:
Commitment – for sustainable procurement policies for wooden furniture products
Manufacturer: Gała Meble Sp. z o.o. (Poland)
Retailer: T&S Home & Living GmbH (Germany)
Brand – for using FSC brand in a conscious and proactive way
Manufacturer: Kvist Industries A/S (Denmark)
Retailer. llva A/S (Denmark)
Communication – for excelling in promotional activities and advertising campaigns
Manufacturer: Stosa s.p.a (Italy)
Retailer: Pier Import (France)
FSC Manufacturer of the Year
Indoor: Hammerbacher GmbH (Germany)
Outdoor: Euroform K. Winkler s.r.l (Italy)
FSC Retailer of the year
Otto Group (Germany)
“According to our 2021 Global Consumer Research, more and more people are seeking out furnishings made from sustainable sources: eight out of ten people expect companies to sell wood and paper products that don’t cause deforestation. Among those who recognize the FSC label, almost the same proportion – 8 out of 10 – prefer FSC-certified over non-certified products,” said Jeremy Harrison, Chief Markets Officer of FSC International. “The data demonstrate that FSC’s mission to offer sustainably sourced raw materials for manufacturers, retailers, and consumers can really make a difference and contribute to the zero-deforestation strategy promoted by the European Union”.
Alexia Schrott, added: “We are happy to see that the response of the companies has been high despite the difficulties brought by the pandemic crisis first and then by the scarcity of raw materials. It is clear that sustainability, and in particular FSC certification, has become a reference point for producers, retailers, and consumers. An essential element for anyone entering the European and world furniture markets.”
Sustainable furniture in Europe and Italy
Versatile, robust, “warm”, with different species available for different solutions, wood is the furnishing material par excellence. However, nowadays there is still a high risk that wood comes from illegal or unsustainable sources.
Despite the growing number of countries and regions that have introduced regulations banning the trade and use of illegally harvested timber and derived products, tracing the materials back to the forest can be hard because supply chains are often complex labyrinths. FSC’s certification of supply chain standards makes it easy to ensure sustainability of wood, with environmental, economic, and social benefits.
For this reason, the furniture sector has shown an increasing interest in certification. In 2022 there are 5,382 FSC active certificates along the supply chain in Europe (an increase of 4.6% over 2021). Among the countries with the highest number of certificates are Poland (905), United Kingdom (760), Italy (631) and Germany (425)*.
For the fourth year in a row, through the Furniture Awards, FSC has celebrated and promoted companies that are leading the way in Europe with their exceptional dedication to offer their customers products that come from responsibly managed forests.
* Source: FSC International Database, 2022.
Two megatrends have been shaping our shopping behaviour in recent years: E-commerce and sustainability. An FSC certification or promotional licence make it possible to link these two topics in an optimal way, to gain customer approval and to directly increase sales success.
Not least due to the pandemic of the last few years, online shopping has become even more established. Even if hopefully an end to the Covid-19 restrictions is soon in sight – convenient shopping from on the road, from the sofa or from the PC workplace has become an indispensable part of our lives. More and more consumers are doing their errands and shopping via digital channels – whether it’s a new piece of furniture, food, fashion or gardening accessories. At the same time, the importance of sustainability in purchasing decisions is increasing significantly. Shoppers are increasingly paying attention to sustainable features such as FSC certification, even on online sales channels. According to a recent study, about 76% of consumers want independent certification for the sustainability of products and materials.
With a high recognition rate, the FSC label is the best-known sustainability label in many European countries – and worldwide.
According to a statista.de study, the GMV turnover (Gross Merchandising Volume or gross value of goods) of the top 100 online shops in Germany has grown by around a third from 2019 to 2020 to 49 billion euros. The big players with more than 1 billion euros GMV each are: Amazon, Otto, Zalando, Mediamarkt, Saturn and Lidl. It is exciting that all of these mentioned companies, except for the electronics specialists, have an FSC promotional licence. But many FSC licence holders can also be found among other e-commerce players.
The sale of FSC-labelled products enables the promotion of sustainable products in line with today’s consumer needs and a positioning as a responsible company. There are several ways in which companies with an FSC certification or promotional licence can promote FSC-certified products online: a company can promote FSC-certified products, purchasing guidelines or cooperations with FSC. This includes, for example, banner advertising, website articles, advertorials or posts on social media.
In its own online shop, a company can offer FSC-certified products and publish extensive statements in connection with FSC. This provides users of online shops with sustainable orientation for their purchasing decisions. It’s the case of online marketplaces such as Amazon, OTTO, Ebay or Mercateo, where companies can communicate their sustainability efforts to their customers using the FSC trademarks.
Marketplaces offer various technical options to find FSC-certified products quickly and easily, thereby drawing greater attention to the certified products. One example is the Climate Pledge Friendly Amazon programme, in which suppliers can participate. Another established example is the “sustainable” award on otto.de. On both online marketplaces, suppliers with their own FSC certification or advertising licence can use this to stand out in particular and increase their sales chances with responsible consumers.
Wooden furniture is a prominent feature in many homes, offices, and outdoor spaces. A versatile and robust material, the variety of species available provide numerous different styles. The furniture industry is a significant user of timber, either as a raw material for manufacturing, or in components and finished products.
However, there is still a risk that wood used for furniture may be from illegal or unsustainable sources. Illegal logging accounts for 50-90% of all forestry activities in key producer tropical forests, such as those of the Amazon Basin, Central Africa and Southeast Asia, and 15-30% of all wood traded globally (Interpol). Illegal logging can cause deforestation, species loss and reduced income for producer countries. Poor forestry practices threaten not only the world’s forests and the wildlife and people that depend on them, but also business and brand reputation.
A growing number of countries and regions, including the European Union and the UK, have introduced legislation banning the trade and use of illegally harvested timber and derived products. In addition, consumers have become more aware of environmental issues and increasingly want to know the source of products. But tracing materials back to the forest they came from is complex as supply chains are difficult to follow. This can make it challenging to determine whether wood used for furniture has been responsibly sourced. The FSC certification system can help to secure a long-term source of wood and other forest-based products; FSC-certified forests have environmental, economic a social benefits.
Our certification system vastly reduces the risk of being confronted with illegal timber. Furthermore, national, regional and local governments – such as those of UK, Netherlands, Germany and Spain – increasingly reference FSC as one of the ways to comply with their public procurement policies while seeking products that support sustainable forest management.
FSC certification demonstrates a company’s commitment to responsible forestry. Worldwide, there are more than 9.700 FSC-certified companies in the indoor furniture sector, over 5.206* of which are based in Europe. Furniture can carry the FSC label and be promoted as FSC certified if it is produced using FSC-certified materials under a valid FSC chain of custody certificate. Businesses buying FSC-labelled furniture may be eligibly to apply for either FSC certification or a promotional licence to enable them to use the FSC trademarks in their own right.
When it comes to forest-based products, FSC certification is the most trusted sustainable choice.
* Source: FSC International Database, 2022.
In keeping with the motto “Better living, healthier forests” FSC launches the new edition of its awards looking for the most sustainable furniture manufacturers and retailers throughout Europe.
The FSC Furniture Awards is a Europe-wide competition created by the Forest Stewardship Council® to recognize the commitment to FSC and sustainability of companies in the indoor and outdoor European furniture sectors. The awards are open to FSC-certificate holders and promotional license holders in the furniture sector that have their headquarters in one of the following European countries: Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Montenegro, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
Companies that apply will have the chance to win one of the three award categories: Commitment, Brand and Communication (one for manufacturers or one for retailers in each category).
The FSC Commitment awards will be given to certificate/license holders that are committed to FSC preference in procurement and commercial policies. The FSC Brand awards will honour companies that use the FSC trademarks in an extraordinary way. The FSC Communications awards will reward companies that convince the Jury with their promotional and communication activities and campaigns including and featuring FSC.
Additional categories include: Manufacturer of the year for indoor and for outdoor furniture and Retailer of the year.
Alexia Schrott from FSC Italy, responsible for the project, proudly explained the rapid growth of the initiative: “After a successful kickoff of FSC Furniture Awards in Italy, in 2021, the initiative was expanded to 11 European countries. Into its 4th edition this year – the contest will be even bigger and open to FSC-certified companies as well as to FSC Trademark Licence holders active in the furniture sector in 20 European countries”.
“There are over 12 000 FSC-certified companies in the furniture sector worldwide. Europe represents almost 50 per cent of the share with most companies located in Poland, Italy, United Kingdom, Netherlands and Germany. Therefore the FSC Furniture Awards are covering the most important furniture strongholds”, Schrott added.
“The furniture industry carries responsibility in ensuring the legal and sustainable origin of the forest-based materials and products. As the world`s most trusted sustainable forest management solution, FSC is a credible partner of furniture companies to achieve this goal and aims to advance sustainable timber value chains. Together with the furniture industry we aim to deliver sustainable products and solutions for conscious consumers and protect the world’s forests through responsible management“ said Schrott.
The application for the FSC Furniture Awards can be submitted starting today until 8th of September, 12 AM CET, through the official website fscfurnitureawards.org. Participation is free of charge.
For applications and further info, please visit the official website or contact your national office.
Wood is the natural material par excellence and has always accompanied the life of human beings. Versatile and durable, it is used to produce everyday objects such as chairs, tables, stools, armchairs and deck chairs; if of sustainable and traceable origin, it also has the characteristic of producing positive environmental, social and economic impacts.
Wood has played an important role in the history of civilization: thinking where we come from without taking into account forests and forest products is impossible.
Of course, things have changed over the centuries; technologies and trends have changed, and the use of this natural resource changed too. According to FAO data, in 2020 more than 4,800 million cubic meters of timber – mainly roundwood, sawnwood and wood-based panels – were produced globally. Although 23% of the EU’s roundwood production in 2020 was used as fuelwood, the remainder is industrial roundwood used for sawnwood and veneers, mainly in the construction and furniture sectors.
On one hand, this fact can encourage the use of forest resources as valid alternatives to materials such as plastic or concrete, which certainly have a greater carbon footprint; on the other hand, however, it can put forests at risk of overexploitation, negatively affecting the contribution they provide to biodiversity conservation and to mitigate climate change.
Using wood of certain, traceable and sustainable origin can contribute in many ways to eliminate this risk, encouraging responsible management practices and favoring a conscious approach to production chains.
1. Sustainable production
Sustainably producing wood means taking into consideration all the dimensions of which a forest is composed: think for example of how many communities in the world still depend today on forests as a means of subsistence or shelter, or of the natural services such as clean water and air that these areas offer us. Or again, of the importance of conserving biodiversity.
FSC certification ensures that the wood comes from forests managed according to high environmental, social and economic standards. This ensures that we can benefit from services and products today without compromising these functions for future generations.
The furniture industry makes extensive use of wood and demonstrating the impacts this generates in a forest can be anything but simple, even more so if the raw material comes from countries on the other side of the world.
Through independent bodies, FSC conducts annual audits in these areas and collects various types of data to monitor and evaluate performances against the desired change in forest management practices. This allows to measure the impacts and constantly improve the system.
The check mark and tree logo is found on millions of products around the world. Sure, but some might say, “So what? How can I trust a simple logo?”
FSC chain of custody (CoC) is the sustainable wood supply chain system that involves more than 50,000 companies worldwide buying, selling and trading FSC-certified material. This means that the wood processed within these supply chains is tracked and evaluated, ensuring the sustainable origin of the material.
Can we still just call it a logo?
How many steps does it take for a log of wood to become a table, or a chair, or the desk we work on? If we take an ideal supply chain we can easily count them: first the forest manager, then the logging company, the broker, the first and second processing. The reality, however, is much more complex, and it may take many stock changes before we see a finished product. Obviously, this implies the possibility that illegal practices or forest destruction can lurk along the supply chain.
Choosing certified wood helps to promote transparency and traceability of the raw material, from the forest to stores.
5. Market awareness
According to research conducted by GlobeScan for the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) in which 12,000 people in 15 countries participated, concerns about the loss of plant and animal species and the impact of deforestation are growing among consumers. Additionally, over 80% of respondents say they expect companies to ensure their wood and paper products do not contribute to deforestation.
This fact has changed the factors and consumption choices of people, who also declare that they place their trust in third-party certifications such as FSC and are willing to pay more for products of sustainable origin.
More than 1,000 brands and retailers around the world use an FSC promotional licence to show their care for the world’s forests.