Having worked a decade as a chemical engineer in quality management I prefer the lifecycle approach. Let me describe Everniture from soil to soil - it's going to be a centuries-long journey. How thrilling is that?!
The first century is literally connected to the soil. We have a 9 hectare elm - black locust forest. We planted it when I was a teen. I actually cultivated it when it needed in the first years. But that needs a few decades to be cut. My son can probably use that wood in his thirties.
Until then I use exclusively FSC certified wood. I use only EU domestic species; oak, beech, ash, black locust, maple, larch, pine. I have never used exotic wood for any project and I never will. Heck, I also avoid using walnut, since it has been overharvested in the 20th century. It is, because its wood is dark and attractive.
But I know a much better choice for what I do. Fumed oak is more figured and more durable (harder and wear resistant) than walnut and it has narrower sapwood (the light coloured edge) than walnut. Oak is much more sustainable than walnut because its plantations are tens of times more widespread than walnut. Walnut can retire at last!
The woodworking techniques applied are also very important to reach a very high level of sustainability. As a chemical engineer I'm fascinated by the complex production process of wood glues. But since crude oil is their ultimate source, they are obviously not really economically friendly products to say the least. Nor are the finishing agents; paints, lacquers, varnishes. Bees wax and/or plant oils will suffice, thank you. Solid wood joinery has proven in the last few millennia. The miracle is given by our ancestors; we just have to use it.
Furniture industry has emerged and heirloom quality furniture gone almost extinct. Modern consumer society seems to accept that the store bought furniture will be either
- disfunctional, or
- out fashioned
in a few years.
I can firmly state that I know another solution on this.
- Solid wood joinery undoubtedly lasts for centuries if combined with a durable wood species.
- I'm not talking about taste here. Natural lines can never get boring. Take a look at a Nakashima table from 1960. It is what is. It means what it is. Take a look at another table from 1960. Which one would you be able to imagine in your home for decades? Let alone, inheriting it from your grandparents... Huh?
Apart from the core concepts of Everniture, there are several aspects ruled by sustainability. Use of electricity from renewable source (photovoltaic), our home and workshop is heated exclusively by efficient brick stove fuelled by cutoffs from furniture making. No showroom which would literally triple the ecological footprint of Everniture. Only online shopping is available. The shipping is done as groupage truck transport, since the pieces are shipped flat packed.
The longest part of the story may be within your home. I hope you and your family enjoy the furniture for a long-long time. It is up to you, it does not depend on the actual piece; It will last.
Although the end of the story is far away, I must also tell, that your grand-grandchildren can even dispose it in a forest as it is, since it has absolutely no artificial component whatsoever. It will be degraded by the normal flora and fauna of the forest; becoming nutrients for the next generations of trees.
Choose the most environmentally friendly furniture!