How Can Wood Furniture Be Sustainable?
The word sustainability gets thrown around a lot these days and is often applied to a wide range of different subjects that may or may not apply. So what makes our handmade wood furniture sustainable?
Wood is one of the only natural renewable resources for furniture making. Materials like metal and plastic are unsustainable because they are derived from finite resources, unlike wood which can be farmed. In addition, finite resources like metal and plastic are sourced via methods that have negative environmental impacts, namely strip mining and oil drilling which contribute to our planet’s environmental dilemmas, such as climate change. However, the farming of wood actually removes carbon from the atmosphere. When trees are sustainably harvested, carbon is sequestered and stored.
Sustainably harvesting trees refers to land use plans and the manner in which forests are managed. If a forest has no economic value, it will be clear cut and burned so that the land can be used for agricultural use, yielding a short term economic gain. This is exactly what is happening in countries throughout the world, such as Nicaragua, where vast forests are being destroyed at an alarming rate. The loss of hardwood forests has devastating social and environmental impacts on local populations, not to mention the global impact on climate change.
In order to protect a forest, you must give it economic value. Fortunately, the long term economic benefits of sustainable forestry far outweigh the predominant land uses of clear cut forest such as subsistence farming and agricultural use.
By selectively harvesting trees from a hardwood forest every 20 years, the economic value of the forest can be unlocked. By adding value to the raw hardwood by producing wood products such as furniture, the value of these forests is increased thereby maximizing the value and sustainability of the management plan.
Therefore, the sustainable use and protection of hardwood forests is not only economically viable, but advantageous to socially and environmentally irresponsible alternatives.
Masaya & Co. is a business that was founded upon principles of social and environmental responsibility. We buy land that was previously clear cut for cattle farming, plant trees, and manage these forests with sustainable land use plans that will allow for their long term economic and environmental potential to be realized. We hire local employees along every step of this process; in our nurseries, tree plantations, design studio, handmade production facility, and business administration. By vertically integrating our business “from seed to seat,” we are providing a responsible alternative to mass produced and globally outsourced production methods. Additionally, by managing the complete process in-house, we are able to reduce costs to a point where we can provide a high end product to the end consumer at a reasonable price, while planting 100 trees for every product sold in order to advance the sustainable model and increase the acreage of forest under management.
When somebody buys a modern wood furniture piece from Masaya & Co., they are buying an heirloom quality piece which we believe offers far superior quality and value when compared to the available alternatives in the current market. In addition, they are choosing to support a business that is part of the global solution to deforestation, climate change, and short term economic thinking.
- Aram Terry