You define yourselves as an eco-conscious company. Tell us why that's important to you.
We come from a part of the country, rural Vermont, where there is a longstanding culture of conservation and sustainability. For one, Vermont is a place of great natural beauty, where the effects of pollution have, at times, been a discernible blight on the landscape. I personally grew up in a period when acid rain deforestation made for highly visible scars on the mountaintops. But moreover, Vermont is a place where parcels of land have generally stayed within local families for generations, fostering an ethic of responsibility, legacy, and stewardship. This is the culture we come from and, frankly, couldn’t see ourselves any other way.
Making your products locally is one aspect of sustainability. Is there anything else about manufacturing in America that makes it easier to be eco-conscious?
Well, the fact that our products are made in America, of American hardwoods, predominantly for the American market, already implies a lower carbon footprint and lower rates of atmospheric pollution simply based on the shorter supply chains. That said, the United States also has much stricter environmental regulations than the countries where most furniture is manufactured and, Vermont, in particular, has some of the strictest environmental regulations in the United States. Where we’re located it’s virtually impossible not to be a “green” company.
But an often overlooked aspect to this questions is quality. The American furniture manufacturing industry can be largely understood as a competition between peers to see who can build the highest quality product. Overseas imports are more often price oriented and not designed to last. “Heirloom quality” is the brag you typically to hear American manufacturers make of their products. “A lot of look for the money” is what you hear about imports. What they don’t say is that the low-quality import will be replaced five or more times in the life of an heirloom quality piece, which dramatically increases the total environmental footprint of the product.