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Sustainable Practices in Furniture Design: Can Green Practices Influence Competitiveness?
* 1 , 2
1  USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, Juneau, Alaska, USA
2  USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station, Delaware, Ohio, USA


Furniture represents a significant component of hardwood utilization and production internationally, and sustainable design practices are becoming more widespread in response to increased consumer demand for green products. In this research, we consider ecosystem services - the benefits people derive from ecosystems - from a secondary wood products perspective. We review and synthesize the literature surrounding the design, use, and disposition of wood furniture and related products in global markets. We consider emerging and innovative design strategies for wood (for example in biomimicry) as well as topics that have been gaining traction for several years (i.e. green supply chain management, eco/environmental labels, and willingness to pay for green products). An overarching theme is to consider how firm competitiveness can be influenced, or even enhanced, by green practices in design and associated communications with consumers. With a trend toward increasing customization in the secondary wood product marketplace, the role of design might be changing. However, design remains a critical product development function in modern markets, and designers are well-positioned to influence sustainable material utilization as well as improve product use and lifespan. The role of product design is expected to remain significant as consumers value green practices and have more product choices in an increasingly customized economy.

Keywords: green design, sustainability, ecosystem services, biomimicry, eco-labelling, supply chain management