Green Is The Color Of Opportunity

Helping Consumers ‘Live Lightly on the Earth’ pays off in profits and goodwill

Consumer concerns about the environment are driving purchase decisions, and companies that can tell an authentic sustainability story are reaping real benefits. At High Point Market, Sustainable Furnishings Council (SFC) events provide a perfect opportunity to meet with people who are making money in this market, and can show you how to develop and deliver your sustainability story.

“We don’t consider ourselves overly progressive or green heroes,” says Veronica Schnitzius, President of American Leather, a founding member of the Sustainable Furnishings Council (SFC). “We’re just doing what is right for our employees, our community, and our customers by working to reduce our environmental footprint.”

Source: Tetra Pak Environmental Research, 2016

In addition to concerns for the health of the planet, consumers also care about how products affect the health of their families. “With 88% of consumers worrying that their homes make them sick,” says Schnitzius, “we use social media and YouTube videos to show that we produce healthy products, manufactured through environmentally responsible practices.”

During the October 2017 Market, the SFC held a membership meeting and the seminar, “Selling Green HT&D Style,” hosted by Texas-based Home Trends & Design. “As more consumers become educated about sustainable furniture, the demand grows,” said HT&D director of marketing Warren Clark. “Because sustainability has always been a guiding tenet of HT&D, we've only had to adapt or evolve the style of our products to meet consumers’ changing tastes. We began manufacturing mostly very traditional furniture. Now our product line includes more contemporary pieces.”

Designer Libby Langdon encouraged her colleagues to “find and use healthy beautiful products,” during the High Point meeting. “So many of my clients want to know what is in the products they are buying. Through the SFC’s ‘What’s it made of?’ initiative, manufacturers find out about their suppliers’ use of eco-friendly materials, so that consumers can identify safer products.”

Those who set the highest environmental standards are recognized through the SFC’s #GetYourGreenOn Design Competition. Katherine Snedeker of The Arrangement, in Dallas, Texas, took this year’s top honor, the 2017 Sustainable Design Excellence Award. Her winning design repurposed a 1978 storage warehouse for residential use, and sourced products from five companies that provide green home furnishings options.

Source: Tetra Pak Environmental Research, 2016

In addition to eco-friendly and home-healthy products, more than 80% of consumers prefer to do business with companies that show corporate social responsibility, according to a 2015 study from Cone Communications. For the green leaders of the home furnishings industry, that means “taking a holistic approach encompassing energy efficiency, employment practices (safety, health, and welfare), and life cycle analysis,” said Gat Caperton, CEO of Berkeley Springs, West Virginia based Gat Creek. “Sustainability is an enterprise-wide endeavor. Consumers want to know what it’s made of, how it was made, and who made it. We talk as much about our passions and processes as we do our products. Consumers love this.”

If you’re looking for ways to establish and grow your position in the green market, the SFC can be an invaluable resource. Their Guide to Green at High Point Market shows you where to find sustainability-focused products, ideas, and people. To grow your sustainability knowledge and network, be sure to attend an SFC seminar or social gathering. You can see the full schedule in their Exhibitor Profile at, after mid-February and mid-August. For complete information about the organization’s initiatives and activities, stop by their showroom, T-591, on the top floor of Suites At Market Square.