We say we are a responsible business. But what do we mean by that?
Environment: We have won many awards, including the Guardian's Sustainable Business of the Year award in 2011, for the work we have put into improving the environmental impact of our industry.
Materials: We work with environmental certifying bodies such as the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) to ensure a sustainable source of raw materials.
Workshop conditions: Most of our workshops are within the European Union and are therefore subject to European laws on employment and conditions. However we also visit our workshops to ensure they are run in a manner our customers would approve of.
Transportation: We do not airfreight any of our furniture.
Employment: Many of our employees have worked for us for a long time. They are integral to the success of our business. We offer flexible and part-time working where appropriate, are opposed to zero-hours contracts and support the London Living Wage.
Community: Our business is based in London and we owners live in London. We support local projects and efforts to cultivate an interesting and diverse local retail environment. We aim to be a responsible business citizen!
Transparency: This is an ongoing project for us, but we aim to make information available on all aspects of our business, from the supply chain through to finances. We want customers to be proud of choosing us to provide their furniture!
Customers: We aim to always provide our customers with great quality products and an efficient, personal service. We will never ignore a problem or leave an issue hanging, and will engage constructively until a problem is resolved. We are not a faceless company - we have experienced staff who are easily contactable and who will always respond to your queries.
This is what we mean by "responsibility". Are there ways we could improve?
We developed our rating guide and now label every piece of timber furniture with an environmental grading tag on our website. This is a voluntary project operated by Adventures in Furniture Ltd. It is not independently assessed however it is our goal for it to grow into a nationally recognised, independently managed rating scheme. We look at three main categories (wood source, workshop practices and furniture miles) connected with the origins of our furniture and we allocate a star rating up to a maximum of 10 stars. We summarise this ‘rating’ on a label on each piece of furniture on the website.
As we review and improve the rating system it gains in strength. We believe this information to be accurate and wherever possible we verify it with our own eyes.
We insist on only timber from certified sources such as FSC and PEFC in all new plantation timber products. Our highest rating for wood source is for FSC certified furniture. FSC is the mark of responsible forestry. Look for the logo on our FSC certified furniture. We work with existing workshops to constantly improve their raw material sources, production practices and working conditions to reflect these principles. We visit our main suppliers to review the sustainability and ethical/environmental impact of their work.
We’ve won some awards for our policies and our practices: Giant Green Environmental Awards 2008, Winner London’s Environmental Business of the Year Giant Green Environmental Awards 2008, Winner Green Champion of the Year Guardian Sustainable Business Awards 2011, Winner Supply Chain
And some nice acknowledgments: “Buying FSC is the best assurance of environmentally and socially responsible timber sourcing. Greenpeace are delighted that Chest of Drawers is looking to promote the use of FSC certified wood and has developed a new grading scheme to look at the wider environmental impacts of sourcing their products. As far as we know, this is an industry first.” Greenpeace Forest Campaigner Ben Ayliffe, Dec 2006