Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Don't be fooled - the lowdown on GREENWASHING

With a worldwide focus on sustainability and ecologically friendly products, we are starting to see a huge amount of Green washing taking place. It is up to us as both consumers and designers to start asking the right questions and stop believing that a product is Eco Friendly everytime we are told it is a "Green" product.
Greenwashing is the practice of making an unsubstantiated or misleading claim about the environmental benefits of a product, service, technology or company practice.
Greenwashing can make a company appear to be more environmentally friendly than it really is. It can also be used to differentiate a company's products or services from its competitors by promising more efficient use of power or by being more cost-effective over time.

Clever marketing sees an array of different products being photographed in natural environments to immediatly give the impression of the product being Eco-Friendly. We even see this with branding in all sectors of industry, here is a classic example:



With a large percentage of furniture and decor items being made from timber, which is a natural resource currently under huge pressure with large foreasts being destroyed worldwide it is vital that we are 100% certain that what we are buying is in fact not adding to this mass destruction!


 The Forestry Stewardship Council is an independent, non-governmental, not for profit organization, established in 1993 in response to growing public concern about deforestation and in recognition of the need for a trustworthy wood-labelling scheme. Its international membership consists of representatives from environmental and social groups, the timber trade and the forestry profession, as well as indigenous people's organizations, responsible corporations, community forestry groups and forest product certification organizations.

FSC’s aim is to promote the responsible management of the world’s forests, balancing environmental, social and economic needs of both present and future generations. Its structure ensures that these sometimes competing interest groups each have a voice and an equal say in order to promote socially beneficial, environmentally appropriate and economically viable forest management.

What they do

FSC provides standard setting, trademark assurance and accreditation services for companies organizations interested in responsible forestry. Timber and timber products carrying are independently certified to assure consumers that they come from forests that are meet the social, economic and ecological needs of present and future generations.

Support and Impact

FSC receives support from a number of non-governmental organisations including the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF), Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and the Woodland Trust.

By April of 2008 FSC certified forests exceeded 100 million hectares in 79 countries, which represents 7% of the world’s productive forests. With more than 7,500 certificates issued to companies in the timber and timber product supply chain, FSC claims to operate the fastest growing global forest certification system and FSC labelled sales are estimated to exceed US$20billion. Given the strength of the brand in UK retail it’s fair to say that FSC has become the benchmark standard for sustainable timber and timber products.

FACT: Even paper products can be FSC certified so look for this the next time you buy a magazine or book !


Reclaimed wood is wood that was previously used in the building of another structure which, when disassembled, is recycled and used in a new building.


Using reclaimed wood is one of the purest forms of recycling in the construction industry. Demolishing one structure carefully, and then using the parts to build new ones, can have many advantages. For one thing, new lumber isn't required, so new trees don't have to be cut. For another, reclaimed wood may not have to be shaped, only transported, which saves on time and labour costs.


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