Bringing the NorDeck Chair to the UK market was driven by a wish to offer a more local alternative to rainforest hardwood garden furniture.
EcoFurn, the creators of the NorDeck Chair, began their design work from frustration with the situation in garden furniture market where often products are made of rainforest hardwood. Tropical rainforests grow slowly and despite the timber being extremely durable, it seems unnecessary to make garden furniture of timber originating from these slowly replenishing ecosystems when there are fine, alternative options closer to home.
Even if tropical timber would be bought from a certified source, another matter of concern is the carbon footprint created through the lengthy transportation chains of tropical timber before it reaches the UK, often via manufacturing at a third location. Why go that far for timber, when there are northern European forests much closer to source from?
Of course the ideal situation would be to source timber from wherever the consumers are and manufacture locally. Yet British forests have been under such pressure for millennia that availability of UK timber is limited, and cannot satisfy all consumption. We support the Woodland Trust as members here in the UK to help revive the British forests. Please find more information about their work here.
Since the EcoFurn production facility is located in Estonia, the natural option is to source the timber from as close to the facility as possible. EcoFurn is currently (2015) working on getting its whole production line PEFC-certified, but this requires investments in IT systems at the factory. In the meantime, the sustainability status of NorDeck products is the following:
All timber that is used in the NorDeck products, apart from larch, is sourced from local Estonian forests; birch and alder wood we use are actually sourced from EcoFurn’s own forest. Since Estonia is an EU-member state, also its forest management follows EU guidelines and EU timber trade regulations. Estonian forests’ yearly growth exceeds the amount harvested and forest covers half of Estonian land area.
For more information on Estonian forest management, please visit here
Larch for the NorDeck larch products is sourced from the nearby Russia, where larch is a dominant species in many forest areas. Due to the size of the forest reserves, and sometimes inefficient law enforcement, Russia, particularly the far eastern Siberia, suffers from illegal logging that makes knowing the definite source of the timber more uncertain. Certification of timber is taking its baby steps in Russia and FSC-certified wood is not easily available… yet.
The goal of NordEco Style and our supplier is to try guarantee that the larch purchased for the NorDeck products is from legal sources. The larch purchased by the manufacturer EcoFurn is from a company owned by the Russian state, which is the safest option available for now. Increasingly we aim to only use timber from certified forests. By asking for certified wood, our supplier is increasing the pressure on the industry in Russia to offer that option.
So the pillars to NorDeck sustainability thinking are:
* Sourcing locally close to manufacture.
* Packaging efficiently (flat packing) and thus maximising transport efficiency and minimising emissions.
* Favoring timber from northern Europe, thus reducing transportation distance.
* Having a fully recyclable product is ideal from product life cycle point of view.
* NorDeck products contain no metal parts; avoiding emission-intensive materials such as metal reduces the product carbon footprint even further.