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Sustainable Furnishings Council has new board, membership structure

Steve Freeman appointed president of board for 2013
The Sustainable Furnishings Council plans a comprehensive review and revision of its standards as part of its initiatives for 2013.
 Steve FreemanSteve Freeman

The revisions are among a number of changes at the seven-year-old SFC, which also is adopting a new membership structure and has a new executive board.

The organization has about 400 total members, more than 60% of which are suppliers and manufacturers.

While the SFC's standards have been regularly updated, the comprehensive revision will keep them robust, said Susan Inglis, the organization's executive director. The SFC's standards offer four ascending levels of certification - Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum - that grade companies based on environmental stewardship.

Its retailer standard is less than two years old while its manufacturer standard is about six years old.

"What we're doing now is going back to the very beginning and revising the whole system for the first time since the very beginning," Inglis said. "Everything is going to get a thorough looking over."

Also this year, the organization is restructuring its corporate sponsorship program by adding a new "contributing member" category of membership. While all members pay dues, contributing members will no longer be able to use the SFC seal.

Previously, membership was divided into standard and exemplary. The new levels are contributing, qualifying and exemplary memberships.

Inglis said the SFC's aim is to give contributing members support, education and resources to help them become qualifying members.

"If a company doesn't qualify now, they're invited to start engaging with us anyway and it will benefit them. They will soon qualify," she said.

Qualifying members self-audit on best practices and earn the right to use the SFC member seal. They can use the logo, place their logo on the SFC's home page, and include on their location on maps of SFC members at furniture markets, among other items.

Steve Freeman of Minneapolis-based retailer Room & Board is the SFC's new president. Other officers include Robin Wilson of design firm Robin Wilson Home, vice-president; Greg Harden of manufacturer Harden Furniture, treasurer; and Peggy Burns of Acton, Mass.-based retailer Circle Furniture, secretary.

Other new board members include Amy Smith of the World Wildlife Fund and The Global Forest and Trade Network, and Norman Coley of manufacturer Lee Inds.

The SFC's board of directors made the appointments when they met last week in Minneapolis at the headquarters of Room & Board.

"Our hopes are to build on our past and include all of our members more in building our future," Freeman said in a press release. "Our goal will continue to be to look at each sector of our industry and encourage everyone to take steps to help them make a difference in slowing the impact we all have on our planet."

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