In just 14 years, the Sustainable Furnishings Council (SFC) has grown from a seed of an idea into one of the industry’s most influential voices for environmental responsibility. Credit the rapid growth and impact to two things: consumers’ awareness of and desire for safer, more sustainable products, and a leadership group wholly dedicated and committed to sustainability.
Hundreds of domestic and international manufacturers, designers and retailers comprise SFC’s membership. Gat Creek is proud to be a founding member with Silver Exemplary status. For a complete list of Sustainable Furnishings Council member companies visit sustainablefurnishings.org.
Would it surprise you to learn that 86% of the wood furniture sold in the U.S. is not made here? That means the majority of America’s most familiar and famous furniture brands have chosen to export furniture manufacturing jobs. If given a full accounting, the price tags on off-shored products don’t fully reflect their costs in illegal harvesting, unsafe factories, abused workers, and environmental damage.
Our customers value the reassurances that the hardwood we use is sustainably harvested from regional forests; that our workers earn a good wage, receive benefits, have a safe and supportive workplace; that quality control is 24/7/365 to ensure their furniture is extraordinarily crafted, properly finished and is safe for their home and family; that their custom order can ship quickly with the smallest possible carbon footprint.
Almost 25 years ago, Gat Caperton bought the Tom Seely furniture factory in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia. It had operated since the 1950s and was struggling to compete with brands that had moved their production to low-wage factories in China.
The Gat Creek story appeared in this 2018 Washington Post story. It’s an excellent portrait of Gat and the company. If you saw the story when it was first published, it is worth revisiting for the reader comments!
Gat Caperton doesn’t mince words when it comes to safety: “It’s who we are. Indoor air quality, the safety of our environment and sustainably managed forests, the health and safety of our workers and our community. Of course furniture stability is going to be important to us.”
So important that the company has taken the voluntary steps and made the investment in on-site lab and testing processes to assure consumers that Gat Creek furniture is Product Stability Verified. The designation, developed by the American Home Furnishings Alliance (AHFA) and global safety science company UL, helps consumers identify products that meet its standard for tip-over safety.
It is simply a fact of life that not everything is what it appears to be. And that can be especially true with the furniture you buy.
“In furniture manufacturing, lumber is quite often purchased from around the world,” says Tom Inman, president of Appalachian Hardwood Manufacturers, Incorporated. “Unfortunately, that lumber could have been harvested illegally, with little or no consideration for the long term health of the resource and the environment that sustains it.