It may sound crazy to concern yourself with the ethical nature of your furniture and where it came from, but for those who are green down to their knickers and socks it definitely isn’t. We are what we eat and we are what we wear, and in addition we are what we furnish our homes and workplaces with. If you are sitting, or sleeping, on some timber structure constructed from endangered rain forest timber, you are not doing the environment any favours. When you buy the wrong things you are sending the wrong economic stimulus out into the market.
Designers, who are in the business of designing furniture, feel the same way about consumers who purchase replica furniture. How ethical is it to buy a cheap rip off version of a chair or table that has been individually designed and created? Many of us would answer, I cannot afford to pay the large amounts of money many designers demand for their furniture. I go to Kmart and Wal-Mart to buy the knock-off versions made in China because that is what my budget determines. Designers would counter with the reply that if you allocate a larger budget for one really great piece of furniture, that will probably last a lifetime, you will experience a far greater inner appreciation at owning that piece of designer furniture.
Is Your Furniture Ethically Sourced?
You can research most things on the web. Replica furniture is pretty easily identified and most people are aware of its status before they buy it. Wooden furniture made from endangered rain forest timbers are recognisable through digital research by comparing your furniture with the online images. Asking questions before you buy things is always a good idea. If second hand, ask the seller is this a replica or an original? Ask the seller if they know what the wooden furniture item is made out of in terms of the type of wood used in its construction? Never be afraid to ask pointed questions during a negotiation. Timber furniture can be soulful and beautiful; it can be expensive when well-made.
Surround yourself with ethical things; people and furniture. Everything reflects on us; especially in the age of consumerism. People in cities identify themselves by what they choose to buy. We do not make much stuff ourselves anymore, we buy things made by others. The majority of people by what is cheapest, and at the same time what they most like within that budget. Perhaps, it would be better to buy beyond the parameters of IKEA?