December 22, 2016 by Olivia Tran


If you are a furniture manufacturer, importer or retailer, stand out in the market as one of the first license holders for Ecolabel-certified furniture.

In July, the EU created a new Ecolabel product category for furniture. The UK and EU government have public procurement strategies that emphasise sustainable manufacture and sourcing, and identify the EU Ecolabel as an accepted standard1,2. There is undoubtedly a demand for sustainable and environmentally-friendly furniture, yet no furniture products have been Ecolabel-certified in the UK as of December 2016.

In a recent report by the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF), “Sustainable timber sourcing and the UK furniture industry”3, 22% of retailers were found to be making good progress or show industry-leading performance in their commitment to responsible sourcing in timber and other materially-significant raw materials. The report recommends establishing a responsible timber sourcing policy, engaging suppliers, third-party certification and communication to ensure a sustainable future for the world’s forests. The Ecolabel can certainly demonstrate a promise to sustainable sourcing (including for non-timber products) and environmentally-friendly practises, as well as supplier involvement and consumer communication.

The Ecolabel application focuses on material source, processing and hazardous chemicals for all product components (e.g. metal, wood, fabric, plastic, glass) and embellishments (e.g. paints, varnishes, dyes, upholstery). Furniture reuse and repair and consumer information are also a key component of the certification.

Products holding an Ecolabel certification are allowed to be marketed as having one or more of the following environmentally-friendly statements:

  • Wood, cork, bamboo and rattan from sustainably managed forests
  • Recycled content (wood or plastic, if applicable)
  • Restricted hazardous substances
  • Not treated with biocidal products (if applicable)
  • Not treated with flame retardants (if applicable)
  • Low formaldehyde emission product
  • Low VOC emission product
  • Product designed for disassembly and ease of repair
  • Textiles made with organic cotton
  • Cotton grown with reduced use of pesticides

Furniture manufacturers, importers and retailers (for products marketed under their own brand names) may apply for the Ecolabel certification for individual products. wca are experienced in preparing chemical assessments, product calculations and evidence gathering to meet the Ecolabel criteria. Please contact Olivia at olivia.tran@wca-consulting.com for more information about our Ecolabel services.

1 DEFRA. 2012. Procurers’ note: applying the Government Buying Standard for office furniture.

2 European Commission. 2016. Public Procurement Strategy.

3 WWF. 2016. Are You Sitting Comfortably? Sustainable Timber Sourcing and the UK Furniture Industry.