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Review: Sustainability Forum

The BCFA’s first Sustainability Forum was held on 5 March 2020 and was attended by 30 BCFA members. The lead speaker was Alun Watkins the Executive Director of PEFC UK ( PEFC is the world’s leading forest certification system and works to ensure that forests are managed according to environmental, social and economic criteria. To request a copy of Alun’s presentation, please contact

Alan spoke at length on the key issues that members need to be aware of to ensure good practice in supporting the stewardship and use of forested land. His talk covered the history of the different certification schemes, the maintenance of the Chain of Custody – from forest to end user, how to get certified and the key drivers for certification, including legislation. In the UK the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) FSC standards are also widely used by suppliers in the timber trade but the end goals of both bodies are the same. Both provide schemes to protect forests and ensure end users get the responsibly sourced timber they requested.

Alun is also the Chair of FISP ( which is an independently certified sustainability programme tailored to the needs of the Furniture Industry supply chain and administered by FIRA. A number of the members at the Forum already belong to FISP, as does the BCFA, and we took the opportunity to ask Alun to give an introduction to FISP and the part it plays in helping manufacturers take the first steps in adopting sustainable practice. Mark Allison the new Sustainability Consultant and administers FISP will be one of our speakers at the September Forum.

In the second half of the forum we had case studies from Camira and Global Upholstery on where they are on the sustainability journey. Camira have a long history in sustainable practice and Paraskevi Fotoglou the Sustainability Engineer at Camira talked about how Camira had developed since starting on their journey in 1998 with the launch of their ReSKU made from recycled wool through to the impending launch of Oceanic a new product born of the SEAQUAL Initiative to achieve to achieve a waste free environment, and woven entirely from recycled plastic taken from the sea and rescued from the land.

Global Upholstery in contrast are at an earlier stage in their journey but Lee Ness the General Manager of Global Upholstery gave an upbeat and enthusiastic account of how they are looking at all areas of their business and how they can be brought in line with good sustainable practice, and implementing changes that will make a real impact for their supply chain and for their customers. Their approach has been to share their initiatives so that others can implement these themselves.

Throughout the sessions there were great questions from members together with open sharing of experiences and ideas.

The next Sustainability Forum will be held on Tuesday 15th September and we will have speakers from UKGBC (UK Green Building Council) and FISP as well as case studies from BCFA members.

If you would like to be added to the mailing list for the Sustainability Forum then please email us via: