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Why I almost bought a forest: navigating sustainability in the furniture industry

Showcase’s Nigel Boreham on the furniture dealer’s sustainability journey to date.

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3 min read

Words: Nigel Boreham
Photography: Courtesy of Showcase

The environment has always been front of mind for Showcase, which has been ISO 14001:2015 certified since 2013. We were always conscious of the potential environmental impacts of our activities as a company, but what we didn’t know was how difficult it is to calculate our carbon footprint, and how confusing the world of sustainability was going to be. Now more than ever, it’s vital to be aware of where wood and wooden products are sourced from, and that we work with manufacturers that have the same ethos as Showcase – in terms of doing the right thing for our planet.

We partnered with Planet Mark as we considered them to be a knowledgeable and insightful group, present at COP26, who could clearly advise us about all things sustainable – and how we could quickly get to be where we wanted to be in reducing carbon levels.

So far, they have delivered: guiding us through our certification, verifying our waste streams, energy and water consumption measurements, looking at the various freight and modes of transportation of products and staff and verifying our carbon footprint. We now (at last) have a starting point to enable us to create an achievable and worthwhile carbon reduction strategy.

My first thoughts were how I could directly and immediately do something good which would offset our carbon and move us towards our initial carbon neutral target

My first thoughts were how I could directly and immediately do something good which would offset our carbon and move us towards our initial carbon neutral target. When I heard about a small woodland that was on the market close to home – I thought, always secretly aspiring to own my own woodland: “That’s it! We’ll buy a forest!”

Surely that would be directly offsetting our carbon and contributing to the environment in a positive way? But it turns out that we couldn’t use it as a method of balancing our footprint, and it had to be a verified project to be considered as an offset.

We have now realised that it’s a journey that will take much longer than initially anticipated. We don’t want to do it quickly and hastily. We want to be thorough, and to exhaust every possible way to move the company in the right direction towards our carbon net zero destination.

We have been through a huge learning curve and continue to learn about the world of sustainability. Of course, there is still a long way to go on this journey, and we will do it in the right way as a team, investing in carbon positive products, finding manufacturers with a paralleled passion as us for doing the right thing, and contributing to the circular economy with products that we can be proud of.

How we reach net zero, and what we choose to be the best and right way to get there remains to be seen and won’t be a quick fix as we initially, maybe naively thought. We are on the journey, and until we reach our eventual Carbon Net Zero goal, we will remain Carbon Neutral as we are today.


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