Materials Factsheet

Wood

Background

The furniture industry is a significant user of wood, either as a raw material for manufacturing, or in components and finished products.

Wood is, of course, made from trees, with timber being the hard substance that forms the branches and trunks of trees.

As a source of air, water, food, shelter and medicine, trees and forests are critical to the survival of every living thing on Earth. They also provide livelihoods for 1.6 billion people.

Each forest ecosystem is highly complex, and influenced by numerous external factors. Different forest types in different regions of the world require different management strategies.

The UK has a total woodland area of 3.17 million hectares, representing 13% of the total land area This is generally divided into three distinct categories: plantations, semi-natural woodlands and mixed woodlands.

The UK’s plantation forests are mainly made up of non-native coniferous species, often planted on economically marginal agricultural land and sometimes on previously cleared ancient semi-natural woodlands (ASNW).

Durable and long lasting

Versatile - as it's easy to shape, adapt, work with, decorate and finish.

Beautiful and unique, due to the individual growth and markings on each tree.

CO2 absorptive – trees absorb CO2 while growing, converting it into clean oxygen, so they're a critical part of the global climate solution.

Water retaining – rainforests also absorb, store, and recycle water as rainfall.

Renewable and bio-degradable – wood can be re-grown, and will break down naturally.

Reusable – its durability allows wood to be re-used many times over.

Recyclable – it can be recycled downwards into lower forms of wood such as chipboard, and its residues can be used in either by-product manufacture or fuel and clean bioenergy.

Certified sustainable options – there are two principal global certifications for timber to ensure high standards: TheForest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). Both are international. While these systems have different specifics, they each seek to uphold standards including respecting all relevant laws, no net loss of forest overtime, maintenance of biodiversity, and the protection of high-value conservation areas -including old growth forests. They also stand up for the rights of indigenous peoples, and ensure fair wages and working environments for workers. In the UK, the UK Woodland Assurance Standard (UKWAS) is the independent certification standard for verifying sustainable woodland management, and it's used for both FSC and PEFC certification. Around 1.5 million hectares of the UK woodland area is certified to the UKWAS standard, representing 44% of the total area.

Deforestation - deforestation happens if a tree that has been cut down for wood is not immediately replaced by a new tree. Alarmingly, deforestation rates are accelerating- triggering a global chain reaction of increased greenhouse gas emissions, rising temperatures, and devastating forest fires.

Illegal logging - a key contributor to deforestation is illegal logging and the subsequent trade of selling illegal timber for timber and pulp. Illegal logging is the clearance of vast stretches of pristine, untouched forest, by cutting down the trees and underbrush with chainsaws, letting them dry out and then getting rid of the debris by burning it. Illegal logging destroys valuable ecosystems, increases biodiversity loss and contributes to climate change. The Government’s Environmental Audit Committee stated that the trade in illegally sourced timber in the UK (measured in 2008) was worth over $1 billion - and the WWF found that 50% of consumers had no idea that items made from timber available for sale in the UK can often came from illegal sources or were the product of unsustainable logging.

Replenishment time-lag - even where there is constant replacement and replenishment of trees used for wood and timber, it still takes many years before a new tree fully replaces the CO2 and water absorption capabilities of the tree that was cut down for that wood.

Flammable

Can be impacted by water

Our Position

As a start-up, we’re lucky – we can bed good practices into our business model right from the get go. That's what we're doing with wood, given its integral role in the structure of a lot of furniture.

At now, sit down wood is hugely important to us, given that it's a unique, beautiful, natural, biodegradable, durable, versatile and re-useable material. But we must only use wood that we can be confident has come from forests where all environmental and social rights have been respected.

Our choice is to reuse wood first wherever we can, and if that’s not available, only use recycled wood. Failing that, use new wood, but in each case ensure it comes from certified sources, such as the FSC or PEFC.

At now sit down, we will:

Re-use existing wood if we possibly can
Seek to source recycled wood that's been FSC or PEFC-certified if that's not possible
If recycled wood isn't available or appropriate for the task in hand, use only new virgin wood that's been FSC or PEFC-certified
Whatever happens, ensure we don't source wood or paper derived from ancient and endangered forests