No doubt we’d all like to be environmentally friendly all of the time but sometimes cost, aesthetic appeal and doubts about just how ‘green’ or ethical items truly are can stop us.
We’re very aware that we need to think more carefully about how we use the world’s resources and buying ethically is a choice more and more of our customers are choosing to make.
Here at Barker and Stonehouse our Trees4Trees (T4T) project genuinely leads the world in changing the way wood for furniture is sourced.
It’s the third year of the T4T community reforestation programme we started in Indonesia and we’ve seen the project grow from the seed of an idea to a huge and influential project that’s helped 9,483 farmers and planted more than a 586,520 trees.
Local farmers and landowners are given free seedlings of high value species - teak, mahogany and mango - and taught planting, forestry and maintenance practices.We also have outreach education programmes in schools and communities and that’s clearly paying off, with a seedling survival rate at the latest monitoring of 91%.
So T4T provides education, employment and protects the environment and the natural habitat of the country – ticking all the ethical boxes. And, the T4T ranges have been priced to allow people to make an ethical choice – even in the current difficult economic climate.
But, as they say, this isn’t just ethical furniture - this is Barker and Stonehouse ethical furniture – so it also has the true natural beauty you’d expect to see from lovingly crafted wood as well as excellent design.
Barker and Stonehouse MD James Barker, who is a regular visitor to the T4T project, said: “This is a chance for us to make a difference with commercially marketable furniture at accessible prices.
“Consumers want initiatives and products like this and as a responsible retailer we have an obligation to look after the environment and improve communities wherever we can.
“We are responding to customer demand – people rightly want to know where products are coming from and that the people involved have been treated ethically and fairly.
“A high-tech GPS mapping system will even be able to pinpoint where the trees are grown. Customers will be able to tap into a database that will enable them to see exactly where in the world the trees used to make their furniture are being replaced.
“This is just part of a whole range of green and ethical measures we’re implementing across the group, for example we've also been working with The Carbon Trust and have significantly reduced our carbon footprint across all of our stores and operations.
“Initially Barker and Stonehouse provided the funding and support to launch the T4T project in 2008 and continues to provide finance, support and marketing advice to the team in Indonesia who harvest the timber.
“This is a long-term project, for example in 2009 170,00 teak trees that take 40 years to mature were planted, that means in 2049 the local economy will benefit from having more than £15m worth (at today’s prices) of mature teak to sell to furniture companies like us.
“We’ve seen a 25 per cent increase in sales of the T4T range in the past year and it seems clear that customers are choosing to move away from living in a ‘throw away society’ and are thinking more long term and with a wider view of their own buying habits."