Lifestyle and Living

How to Join the Search for Sustainably Produced Furniture

Mar 2023 | By Christine Brown

Welcome back to Sustainable Interior Design Ideas for your Home! In this article we continue our journey to find ethical and sustainable products to create a healthy, and well-loved home! 

Picking up from our last article, Repurpose, Reuse and Renew, you may now be thinking about buying new, and you may need a little guidance to help you find products that are both long lasting and earth friendly. Remember those three important questions that guide us: Where is it made? How is it made, and Who made it? 

An image of a bamboo wood couch with white cushions.There is a plethora of information online about “green” products – climate neutral certifications, responsible materials, ethical manufacturing, etc. It can be a daunting task finding products that check all the boxes and are trustworthy! 

Many businesses share their sustainability commitments, practices, and certifications online. We can use labels and ratings to verify a businesses sustainability claim while third party certification ensures their accountability. Do your research and don’t be afraid to ask questions! Let’s look at some examples starting with the big purchases: furniture.

An image of green linen fabric.

Buying furniture is exciting, so many fabulous styles to choose from! Whether a sofa, new desk, or bed, this is a purchase you want to last for many years. But how do you know if it is an ethical brand, made from sustainable materials, and no toxic finishes? Check for labels like  Made in Green by Oeko-Tex, which verifies that the fabrics were sustainably sourced under ethical working conditions, and are free of toxins proven to be harmful to health. Any wood element, if not made from salvaged pieces should be Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified, ensuring that products come from responsibly managed forests that provide environmental, social, and economic benefits.  GREENGUARD Certification  ensures the wood finishes have been tested and scientifically proven to have low chemical emissions, guaranteed to give off only negligible volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

An image of a classic looking living roomBrentwood Classics is a Canadian company manufacturing sofas, chairs, and beds. They are a member of the Sustainable Furnishings Council, a non-profit industry association committed to promoting sustainable practices within the home furnishings industry. Their products are made from foam that is CertiPUR-US® certified. This certification ensures foams are made without harmful chemicals such as PBDEs flame retardants and formaldehyde. Companies like West Elm have added sustainable and Fair Trade Certified furniture to their catalogue.  We will dive into Fair Trade in our next article.

An image of a wooden table and benchesCreating an eco-friendly home takes careful decision-making. Look closer to home for furniture choices that support local artists and businesses. Many offer unique products made from salvaged, recycled, and other sustainable materials. You will reduce the requirements of long-distance transportation while supporting the local economy. 

Toronto based Brothers Dressler’s furniture and lighting is made from reclaimed, salvaged, and repurposed materials. Agile Design and Fabrication use sustainably harvested materials, non-toxic finishes, and all products are designed and made in Canada. 

There is a multitude of amazing sustainable furniture companies across Canada. I have included a useful buyers guide from Zero Waste Creative listing the company’s products and sustainability efforts.

As consumers, we should ask questions and demand more ethically and sustainably produced products so, do your research and feel free to share your finds with us! Be sure to check out the list of businesses and resources at the end of this article to help you get started. 

I hope this information is useful and inspiring! Join me for upcoming articles where we will dive into the accessories and textiles that bring your space to life!

Christine Brown | Hello@bobbiebroon.ca | Christine is the founder of Bobbie Broon Home and an accredited member of DDA.
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Additional Sustainable Furniture Companies

Inside Green – Cisco Home

Viva Terra

Crate and Barrel

The Ultimate Guide to Sustainable Furniture in Canada

References and Resources

Making Sense of Green Certifications

Architectural Digest – When It Comes to Earth-Friendly Furniture, Does It Matter Where or How Things Are Made?

Architectural Digest – The Fast Furniture Problem