Office furniture has become a multi-billion dollar industry from China. Two companies are offering an alternative by making product in the USA.
Since the early 1990s, a shift in the manufacturing of office furniture began leaving the United States for China. The immediate impact was the loss of jobs in the furniture industry. Then, over the years, concerns were raised by those who prioritize sustainability and fair labor practices. As a professional interior designer I, like other professions, are educated and licensed in the field. We are required to be responsible with regard to furnishings, indoor air quality and other principals, practices and sustainable ethics.
The LEED [Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design] certification programs and other course work for the architect and interior design profession share these concerns and understand how essential it is to support companies that prioritize ethical manufacturing processes. Reducing the energy it takes to receive overseas shipments, as well as recognizing slave labor in communist countries have become priorities.
Selecting Watson & Cumberland Furniture: A Sustainable Choice
Amidst this shift are, Watson Furniture in Washington State and Cumberland Furniture in Michigan, have emerged as beacons of sustainability and ethical manufacturing practices. Their commitment to environmental responsibility and fair labor made them the ideal choice for my project at the Center for Global Leadership on the campus of Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, Florida. Architectural finishes from Paris Ceramics, wallcoverings from Cowtan & Tout and Arte, were also included.
Watson and Cumberland Furniture set themselves apart by prioritizing sustainable practices throughout their manufacturing process. They have implemented innovative strategies to reduce their carbon footprint, such as:
- Using locally sourced, sustainable materials for their furniture
- Implementing energy-efficient manufacturing processes
- Minimizing waste through recycling and repurposing initiatives
By choosing Watson and Cumberland Furniture, the Center for Global Leadership can demonstrate their commitment to environmental sustainability and inspire others to follow suit.
Fair Labor Practices
While many American office furniture manufacturers have been criticized for outsourcing their production to countries with questionable labor practices, Watson and Cumberland Furniture remain in America and are dedicated to fair and ethical treatment of their workers. They ensure:
- Safe working conditions
- Fair wages and benefits
- No exploitation of labor
As an interior designer concerned with sustainability and fair labor practices, I highly recommend Watson and Cumberland Furniture as the solution for your office furniture needs. Their commitment to environmental responsibility and ethical manufacturing practices sets them apart from other manufacturers who have moved their factories to China. By choosing Watson and Cumberland Furniture, the Center for Global Leadership can make a statement about their values and inspire others to prioritize sustainability and return the office furniture industry to America.
The Hand-Engraved Declaration of Independence is available on Dixie & Grace, shown here with a handmade closed corner frame, having a navy blue panel and 18k gilded gold leaf trim.