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SFC celebrates fifth anniversary at High Point Market

The Sustainable Furnishings Council is celebrating its fifth anniversary right where it was created at the fall High Point Market, Oct. 22-27.

What started as a series of informal meetings among friends in the furniture business at the South Cone showroom of Gerry Cooklin was formalized in a decision to become a non-profit organization supporting sustainability initiatives throughout the industry at High Point in October 2006.

Notable founding members include Harden Furniture and Gat Creek among manufacturers, Room & Board and ABC Carpet & Home among retailers, and Furniture/Today and other industry publications. The group also included ranking staff of World Wildlife Fund, Rainforest Alliance and one of the two co-founders of the US Green Building Council, giving the SFC enhanced credibility.

The first order of business was drafting standards for approval by public consensus to define what it meant to be green in home furnishings. Once in place, the SFC turned its attention to raising awareness, sharing best practices and delivering education which continue as the main priorities today.

The SFC is particularly proud that throughout a challenging period for the industry over the past several years, the organization has continued to thrive. Membership currently approaches 400, an all-time high, and more than 600 participants have graduated from the SFC-sponsored GREENleaders Certified Sustainability Training program, a certified education program focused on green home furnishings.

The organization has engaged celebrity designers including Thom Filicia, Alexander Julian, Kathy Ireland and Angelo Surmelis in a consumer print campaign that appears monthly in a variety publications such as Dwell and Luxe. It continues to attract high-profile new members such as Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, with Mitchell Gold himself agreeing to join the Board of Directors.

The SFC recently issued new Exemplary Standards for Retailers, bringing recognition to numerous companies promoting sustainability. The organization also helps connect buyers and sellers of sustainable goods at markets by distributing thousands of maps of SFC member manufacturers showing at High Point.

For those interested in GREENleaders certified training, the course will be offered from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 26. To register, email or call 919.967.1137.

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