Part of the work I’m doing in Vietnam for the World Wildlife Fund includes documenting the booming furniture manufacturing industry. In the last two weeks we have toured four very large scale manufacturing plants and I’ve seen more deck chairs than I could have imagined.
All these chairs are made of wood– some of which has been harvested locally in Vietnam but a higher percentage is imported for processing. With such a demand for wood there is an obvious concern that the forests are going to pay the price for our patio furniture.
Thankfully WWF and others are working with the furniture industry to help find the best solutions to responsible wood sourcing. One such program led by WWF is a worldwide partnership organization called the Global Forest and Trade Network. “The goal is to create a new market for environmentally responsible forest products.” Several of the furniture companies we’ve visited have been active members of the Vietnam branch of this program.
Another well known program is the The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). The FSC is an international organization that “brings people together to find solutions which promote responsible stewardship of the worldâ€™s forests.”
A big part of responsible forest management is tracking the wood through the entire process from a tree in Uruguay, to Vietnam for processing, to a retailer in Europe. For my part I was able to document the documentation at Dai Thanh furniture manufacturing company here in Vietnam. Dai Thanh was clearly keeping track of their wood, and seperating any ‘non-FSC’ wood from their mostly FSC certified products.
I’ve made a quick edit from the tour of the Dai Thanh processing plant to illustrate this process for you.