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Working with
Sustainably Harvested
grown,” says Chad Richardson of
When it comes to selling products made from sustainably harvested woods,
Enrico Products. Richardson adds
New York City company Digs, is an old-timer. At least that’s the way co-owner
that bamboo fits in well with the
Dave Glassman sees it; the eco-friendly wholesaler of home décor and fashion accessories
growing desire of shoppers to
has been around since 1991.
buy more green and sustainable
Well before “green” became mainstream, Glassman says his wife Rhea Alexander ran her
products. Wholesaler Enrico
business with a commitment to using “reclaimed, sustainably-harvested woods.” Glassman
Products is a supplier of housewares
joined later, and is equally passionate about the artisans the company works with and the
and gift products made from
products they sell. An example of their products: whimsical animal bath hooks that retail for
n atural and renewable raw
$45 for a three-piece set.
materials including bamboo and
Digs works with a few different kinds of woods, all of which are certified by the Forest
reclaimed fir tree stumps from
Stewardship Council. The council’s website describes the organization as a group of loggers,
China, acacia wood from Malaysia
foresters, environmentalists and sociologists who came together in the early 1990s to
and Thailand, farmed mango and
“change the dialogue about and the practice of sustainable forestry worldwide.”
reclaimed teak from Thailand and
To better understand the kinds of sustainably harvested woods available and
camphor laurel wood from Australia.
their certifications, GREENRetailer spoke with Karen Steer, a project man-
“Bamboo is actually a grass rather than a tree and it constantly sends
ager with the Forest Stewardship Council:
out new shoots that grow into new
bamboo stalks so it doesn’t require
What to know about sustainably harvested woods
replanting,” Richardson points out.
You have a choice of the type of wood products you choose to carry, and in so
“The moso bamboo (a variety of
doing the type of forest management you choose to support. There are many
bamboo) we use generally matures
kinds of sustainably harvested woods, from domestic pines, firs, oaks and
in four to five years rather than 30
maples, to tropical mahogany, and bamboo (a grass, not a wood). It’s not so
or 40 for a tree,” he adds.
much the product or the species, but the way in which the forest is
managed that makes the product ‘sustainable’ or ‘responsibly managed.’ That
How “green” is it?
said, some species grow faster and are more abundant than others, and some
While most bamboo comes from
grow closer to home—all aspects of wood sourcing that you should consider when
Asia, leading some to argue
selecting products that meet your values.
its shipment to the U.S. leaves a
significant carbon footprint, industry experts believe its sustainability
The standards and their significance
remains fairly strong.
The Forest Stewardship Council sets standards for exemplary forestry that includes
“Sustainability is a broad umbrella that covers a lot of [seemingly]
environmental, social and economic values. FSC standards encompass 10 principles and 56
unrelated topics—global warming, indoor air quality, toxic pollutants, social
criteria that include biodiversity and old growth protection, restrictions in
concerns,” Hiller says. “On the
chemical use, soil and water conservation, and protection of indigenous and
issue of global warming, it is
community rights and resources. An FSC-certified forest signifies that the
incredibly sustainable. It is a rapid
landowner has made a commitment to adhere to the robust set of
renewable with species that can grow a
FSC standards. Through FSC’s chain-of-custody (CoC) standard,
foot a day, and plant growth comes from
wood can be tracked from the forest floor to the retail store, so
absorbing carbon dioxide from the
that the consumer knows that a purchase is supporting the
atmosphere, the primary culprit for global
landowner’s commitment to responsible forestry. Every
warming. It is also a grass that requires no
business along the FSC supply chain is required to be FSC
replanting so no extensive management plan
CoC-certified, and is issued a CoC code. You can verify that the
or certification is required to know that it is
NATURESCAST wholesaler is certified through this code.
doing its job.”
Renee Maria Fanjon, president of
wholesaler Padma’s Plantation in Batavia,
IL, does what she can to minimize concerns
120 GREENRetailer
n Winter 2010
GRM Features.indd 120 12/16/09 8:29:17 AM
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