MIDDLESBROUGH’S Barker & Stonehouse is set to change the face of furniture retailing with a pioneering green scheme that sets out to help both the environment and the people of Indonesia.
In partnership with its supplier Country Form, one of the first to adopt an ethical sourcing policy for mango-wood furniture, the store has launched Trees-4-Trees - an independent, non profit-making organisation to replenish mango-wood plantations and improve the incomes of poor rural communities.
Farmers in Central Java have already been given around 100,000 saplings from which they can earn a 25-year living from fruit harvests on condition they take part in agricultural training programmes and comply with a monitoring programme. At the end of the trees’ life, Trees-4-Trees harvests the wood for furniture making.
Another 80,000 should be planted by the end of the year.
Barker & Stonehouse md James Barker is now encouraging other manufacturers and retailers to become involved. While there are no immediate commercial benefits from the scheme, Mr Barker says his firm is in it for the long-term.
“If tree stocks are not well-maintained and more wood is taken out of the system than is replaced, prices go up and people buy less.
“Wood is the ideal material for furniture, we want to make sure it remains so in the future.”
British-born general manager of Country Form, Daniel Saunders, said: “There’s a lot more to it than just planting trees. We wanted to give something back while helping the farming communities at the same time.”
See tomorrow’s nebusiness for a full report on the pioneering work of Trees-4-Trees.