We hope Gerry Cooklin will forgive us for using this poor quality photo, but we just wanted to capture this guy's passion, and he wouldn't stay still long enough to get a better shot!
Monday night in High Point, North Carolina, and the movers and shakers of the furniture world are, well, moving and shaking to an energetic salsa band while discussing ways that the furniture industry can help protect the world’s precious resources and reduce its own environmental footprint. This is the launch of the Sustainable Furniture Council, which we have previously covered here and here, and which describes itself as: ‘a non-profit industry association committed to promoting
sustainable practices within the home furnishings industry.'
The group sets out its initial aims as follows:
- To raise awareness of the sustainability issue
- To assist companies in adopting good practices
- To serve as an information clearing house
- To create a symbol of assurance for consumers
The evening included an inspiring talk by the aforementioned Gerry Cooklin, CEO of South Cone, and founder of the SFC, in which he urged the industry to take action now. He argued that the time for delay was over, and that adopting sustainability has become a matter of survival for the human species. He was followed by Steve Gretzinger, the co-ordinator of the WWF’s Global Forests and Trade Network in South America, who gave an interesting viewpoint on the evolution of conservation work. He set out the reasons why, over time, organizations like the WWF have come to recognize that it is not enough to work with nature and ecosystems, but that they must also work with the human communities that inhabit these ecosystems, and engage with them in dialogue about their economic and social needs. He encouraged members of the SFC to take note of this reality, and to concentrate their efforts on a holistic, inclusive approach to environmental AND social sustainability if they wanted to achieve real change.
The SFC is very much in its early stages, with the group’s website still a work in progress, but the early signs are encouraging. The initiative has signed up over 40 members in the few weeks since it was officially launched, and the support of both WWF and Rainforest Alliance is sure to lend it credibility in the emerging green market place. If Monday night is anything to go by, they should become well known for throwing some great parties too!