Thursday 12 May




Ethical Consumer magazine is today challenging leading designer stores Habitat, Heals and Laura Ashley to prove that their wooden furniture is not made from illegally sourced timber.

In the course of researching its latest buyers' guide on furniture these companies and 20 other furniture retailers were unable to provide Ethical Consumer with any evidence that their beds, tables and chairs have not been made from illegally sourced timber.

Illegal timber is harvested from national parks, outside of logging concessions and from the expansion of illegal plantations. The activity is having devastating impacts on indigenous communities, endangered forest habitats and wildlife in large parts of south east Asia, Africa and south America.

Ethical Consumer report author Katy Brown said:

“More illegal timber is imported into the UK than any other European country. The only way to guarantee that your bed, bookcase or garden chair isn't made from illegally logged timber is to ensure that it's made from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) sustainably certified wood.”

“It's extremely disappointing that high-profile and respected companies such as Habitat, Heals and Laura Ashley are unable to guarantee that their furniture isn't made from illegal timber. It would appear that they place fashion above the future of the rainforests. We now challenge these companies to prove that their wood isn't knock off.”

Ethical Consumer recommends that the best ethical and environmental option for household furniture are second-hand and antique items.

For new furniture Ethical Consumer recommends FSC labelled products from B&Q, House of Fraser, Ikea, John Lewis and M&S.

For new garden furniture Ethical Consumer recommends FSC labelled products from Notcutts garden centres and B&Q.



1 Ethical Consumer surveyed the wood sourcing policies of over 35 leading furniture and garden furniture stores the results of which are published in the furniture buyers' guide.

The following companies received a worst rating in the survey and Ethical Consumer is now calling on these companies to prove that their wooden furniture items are not made from illegal timber: Bensons for Beds, Brighthouse, Capital Gardens, Country Homes and Gardens, CSL, DFS, Dreams, Dunelm Mill, Furniture Village, Garden & Leisure, The Garden Centre Group, Habitat, Heals, Hillier, Homestyle, Klondyke Garden Centres, Laura Ashley, Multiyork, The Futon Company, The Range, Selfridges, SCS Sofas and Sharps.

2 A copy of the furniture buyers' guide is available here:

3 The illegal logging of world's remaining tropical forests is a major global problem especially in south east Asia where the demand for cheap furniture from the West is driving the rapid deforestation of Cambodia, Laos and Thailand.

4 In 2013 a new law will come into force across the EU which will ban the import and sale of illegally logged timber.

5 Launched in 1989 Ethical Consumer is the UK's leading ethical and environmental magazine. In each issue Ethical Consumer examines the ethical and environmental record of the companies behind everyday products and services from bread to banks. For more information visit the Ethical Consumer website:


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