Sustainable. Eco-friendly. Environmentally responsible. Many home furnishings retailers, designers, manufacturers and suppliers pride themselves on embodying these values—ideals that more and more consumers demand in the products they buy. In this three-part series we'll take a look at the materials, the environmental impact and the messaging surrounding this topic.
THE MESSAGING Whether you’re a retailer, manufacturer or designer, community outreach goes a long way in educating others about how to be good environmental stewards. Avasa, Boston Interiors, Jaipur Living and Phillips Collection have all been recognized as eco-friendly companies by the Sustainable Furnishings Council, which raises awareness about environmental issues and adopting best practices for sustainability.
In addition to partnering with SFC on several educational initiatives, Jaipur Living uses targeted email campaigns to inform its interior designer following about the benefits of its sustainably sourced rugs and textiles.
Boston Interiors guides its customers toward its eco-friendly products with special signage and tags in its stores, and features information on its website about its commitment to social and environmental responsibility. The retailer also spotlights sustainability issues with periodic promotions and awareness campaigns such as 1% for the Planet, through which Boston Interiors donates a percentage of proceeds to local nonprofits that support environmental initiatives.
“We are doing a work day with Massachusetts Audubon, harvesting weeds in their organic garden, as a way for our individual employees to get involved,” Lucas says. “We, as a company, will pay them for their work days like this, because we believe it is important.”
Phillips Collection aims to lead by example, turning its environmental initiatives into learning opportunities for its employees and customers. The manufacturer hosted an event called “Waste Not Watt Not,” in which it replaced more than 2,000 fluorescent bulbs at its 166,000-sq.-ft. warehouse and distribution center with energy-efficient lighting.
Phillips Collection also adopted Finch Avenue in High Point, N.C., where the company is headquartered, taking ownership of maintaining the street as part of a citywide cleanup program.
“Our customers demand sustainability from us and other vendors they buy from. It is no longer a question,” Phillips says. “This is a no-brainer, but unfortunately still a myth to some. We are destroying our planet and need to play our part in protecting it and rebuilding it where we can.”
To read part one of this series, The Materials, click here.
To read part two of this series, The Environmental Impact, click here.