The American Home Furnishings Alliance (AHFA) announces Copeland Furniture of Bradford, Vt., is the recipient of the 2009 Sage Award for environmental excellence.
The award program was launched to recognize environmental accomplishments within the home furnishings industry.
“A sage is someone who is widely respected for wisdom, experience and judgment,” explains AHFA CEO Andy Counts. “This award was created by AHFA and Cargill’s BiOH® polyols business unit to seek out and recognize true environmental innovators from whom others in our industry can learn.”
The competition was open to retail, manufacturing and supplier companies in both the furniture and bedding industries.
“This year’s entries highlighted how pervasive the quest for environmental excellence has become within the home furnishings industry,” Counts observed. “Some entries represented very large companies, others very small ones. Some were public companies; others were privately-held and family-owned. What they shared was a belief that environmental excellence is an ongoing journey. Their successes required flexibility, insight and a sustained commitment to environmental stewardship.”
Copeland Furniture was singled out among this year’s entries for its “exceptionally focused” approach to sustainable business operations. The company holds a Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) chain of custody certificate and currently manufactures eight product groups that qualify for FSC on-product labeling. Wood for these collections is sourced from forests within 100 to 500 miles of the plant. Ninety percent of the electricity used to power the manufacturing equipment comes from low emission sources.
According to Copeland President and CEO, Tim Copeland, the company is in the process of converting its heating plant from oil-fired hot water to wood-fired, using its own waste scrap as fuel. The scrap not used as fuel is reprocessed into wood pellets that are being sold locally to fuel wood stoves – a popular item in Vermont households.
Copeland also was recognized for urging its finish suppliers to formulate better water-based wood finishes – a key challenge for eco-minded furniture producers. Further, the company is taking steps to reduce the use of non-recyclable materials in product packaging and is posting its entire product catalog on its website rather than printing hundreds of copies for retail customers.
“Despite all of these accomplishments, this company views sustainability as an ongoing process of improvement, rather than as a finite goal. Their environmental initiatives touch every aspect of operations, and they provide a clear model for others to follow,” AHFA’s Counts stated in presenting the award.
Copeland was awarded a $2,500 check from Cargill’s BiOH® polyols business unit to be donated to the charity of the company’s choice. Copeland chose to add another $2,500 to the amount, so $1,000 could be contributed to each of the following: Bradford Conservation Commission, Bradford Food Shelf, Orange East Senior Center, and the Bradford Library, all in Bradford, Vt.; and Dougscamp.org, Plymouth, Vt.
Copeland Furniture is a 32-year-old family owned and operated enterprise that produces quality bedroom, dining room, living room and home office furniture crafted from sustainably harvested hardwoods from the American Northern Forest. The company also holds the exclusive license to produce the furniture designs of Frank Lloyd Wright. (www.copelandfurniture.com)
Company names were removed from the Sage Award entries before they were forwarded to seven judges representing industry leaders, environmental and charitable organizations, and the furniture industry business press. The entries were evaluated based on each company’s sustainability efforts, social or community involvement and, finally, their business success.
Copeland was recognized as the 2009 Sage Award winner during the furniture industry’s annual Sustainability Summit held December 2-3 in Greensboro, N.C. Two other finalists in the 2009 competition were also recognized during the Summit. They included Century Furniture of Hickory, N.C., and La-Z-Boy Inc., Monroe, Mich.
Century is a family-owned furniture manufacturer in business for more than 60 years. The company implemented a comprehensive environmental management system in 2008 within each of its domestic manufacturing plants, resulting in dramatic reductions in energy use, water consumption and waste disposal.
La-Z-Boy’s sustainability initiatives have significantly reduced the company’s energy and water consumption. In 2008 the company recycled or reused more than 50 million pounds of material that previously would have gone to a landfill. In addition, across the company’s network of 68 retail stores, 27,000 light bulbs are being replaced with eco-friendly bulbs.