May 18th, 2006

Is this a Garden Table of Death?

I’ve just done up my garden, including the purchase of a new garden table. I went to crocus.co.uk and ordered on-line…. and here it is pictured on-site. I was of course worried that this may be a table made of tropical hardwood – so I took some comfort from the Crocus’ hardwood guarantee, but was I right to?  The guarantee includes:

“Today, all our timber comes from strictly managed forests that have been checked and approved by the Tropical Forest Trust (TFT). In fact, we are the only leading online garden furniture supplier that can guarantee all their hardwood furniture is made from timber sourced from forests working with the Tropical Forest Trust (TFT) on a strictly controlled management programme towards independent certification.”

But when it arrived the packaging said “Made in Vietnam” – my heart sank and I thought I must have been conned because, I thought, what an earth does sustainable forestry mean in a place with lots of old growth tropical hardwood forests? So I contacted my friend Jade Saunders who works at Chatham House and is an expert on illegal logging (www.illegal-logging.info).

Thankfully, my narrow-minded pessimism was given short shrift as she replied:

“It may not have been harvested in Nam but it will have chain of custody back to stump. The Tropical Forest Trust work with forest managers, often communities, towards FSC certification. They have total integrity timebound targets & people getting kicked off the programme if they don’t get their sh*t together.”

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