Our sustainable development policy
In 2006, Maisons du Monde brought out its first furniture catalogue, featuring handcrafted objects and furniture from all over the world. The furniture is made primarily from tropical wood, such as mahogany and bamboo harvested on the island of Java in Indonesia, Indian rosewood, mango wood and acacia harvested in India. However temperate species are also used, such as pine, oak, elm and birch harvested in New Zealand, the USA and Canada. As a retailer of exotic wood furniture, we are extremely concerned about the problem of deforestation. With between 10 and 13 million hectares of old-growth forest disappearing each year, the impact on the environment, the local populations and the economies of the countries in question is enormous. The problem of deforestation is compounded by the issue of illegal timber supplies, which are thought to account for a quarter of the timber imported into Europe today. Maisons du Monde, as a responsible and committed company, wants to help change this situation.
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Given the limited availability of certified tropical wood on the market, we must work with the local populations to seek solutions to achieve sustainable management of natural resources. As a furniture retailer whose concept is based on promoting craftsmanship, it is our responsibility to assist our suppliers in ensuring the traceability of their wood and gaining certification. Together we need to take this issue forward, to give them the keys to achieving social development that is compatible with protecting natural resources Xavier Marie, CEO and Founder
Tropical species concerned: teak (Tectona grandis), mahogany (Swietenia Mahogany) and bamboo, harvested on the island of Java in Indonesia
Since 2006, Maisons du Monde has been engaged in a dialog with its suppliers to educate and assist them in obtaining forest certification. In 2010, we joined the TFT to finalise the implementation of traceability systems with its suppliers and to help them source their products sustainably. Furniture made with wood from TFT projects either bears a logo or comes with a certificate of clearance from the NGO. Through our partnership with the TFT, we undertake to regularly increase the number of FSC-certified products in our catalog. And when no FSC-certified wood is available, we give preference to products that bear the TFT stamp. Maisons du Monde has also decided to support community projects on Java.
Tropical species concerned: Indian rosewood (Dalbergia sissoo), mango wood (Mangifera indica) and acacia (Acacia nilotica) harvested in India
Indian rosewood is the wood traditionally used in Indian craftsmanship. To date, there are no certified plantations of Indian rosewood.
For the first time ever in India, the partnership is examining suppliers' supply chains. With the support of the local population, it will help establish the first Indian plantation to apply for FSC certification. This will require negotiating with and lobbying India's forestry departments, to persuade them to let us establish sustainable management practices on their plantations, without interfering with the system in place. This is a substantial commitment that will span at least five years, giving the TFT the funding and support it needs to complete the project. Maisons du Monde has undertaken to give the NGO full and complete details of its supply chains, the volumes purchased and a copy of each order. We believe the social aspects are also of key importance in a socially responsible approach. Accordingly, we are working with Business Trading Ethically (BTE), a British NGO operating in India and specialized in promoting ethical, socially-responsible supply chain practices and which recently merged with TFT. BTE audits and supports our suppliers to help them improve labor standards by giving them the tools for sustainable solutions.
A specific data sheet on Indian rosewood, explaining its characteristics, how it is managed and our partnership with the Tropical Forest Trust, is distributed to shoppers at our stores.
Tropical species concerned: fir (Cunninghamiae Lanceolatae), pine (pinus spp), oak (Quercus spp), birch (Betula Spp) and poplar ( Populus spp.) harvested in New Zealand, the USA, Canada and China.
We have mapped out the supply chains of each of our suppliers so that we can identify and track the origin of the timber used to make our furniture and ensure that it has not been illegally logged. This work is constantly updated to keep it fully compliant with the EU's FLEGT regulations. We demand total transparency from our suppliers as to the origin of the timber and timber products they buy (plywood, veneers and MDF). Whenever possible, we encourage them to use timber that has been certified to international standards.
The FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) label certifies timber from forests that have been managed in accordance with prescribed environmental and social standards (protection of the forest ecosystem, reduced pressure on natural forests, reafforestation, improved long-term economic and social welfare of forestry workers and local communities, etc.) Find out more
The Tropical Forest Trust (TFT) is an association whose primary goal is to expand the area of FSC-certified forests in the tropics. TFT provides technical expertise to tropical forest managers and monitors traceability chains. TFT assists Maisons du Monde in certifying community plantations in India. Find out more
The WWF-led Global Forest & Trade Network is a partnership initiative committed to achieving and supporting responsible forestry by creating market conditions that help conserve the world’s forests while providing economic and social benefits for the businesses and people that depend on them. Maisons de Monde works with GFTN on its entire timber supply chain. Find out more
As a manufacturer and retailer of wooden furniture, Maisons du Monde is directly dependent on forest ecosystems and their welfare for the long-term stability of its product line-up. This fact, coupled with our positive experience of sponsorship since 2006 with the NGO l’homme et l’environnement in Madagascar, prompted us to start working with the NGO on developing a pilot scheme in Vohimana (Madagascar), then duplicating it in other biodiversity hotspots.
This was the beginning of the "Man&Nature" program, which undertakes projects to maintain or restore the biodiversity in predefined areas by helping the communities present there engage in long-term conservation of the fauna and natural resources.
"Man&Nature" is a down-to-earth solution for curbing the destruction of the biodiversity.
"Man&Nature" will respect and promote traditional knowledge, and protect the population and the biodiversity from the threat of speculation and biopiracy, in accordance with national and international law (CBD).
Through the "Man&Nature" program, Maisons du Monde support:
In Cambodia: Poh Kao, des tigres et des hommes The aim of this project is to help local communities find other paths to development than overexploitation of the forest and the fauna. The project is situated to the south of the Virachey National Park, in an area that is home to a wide variety of emblematic species, with 29 rare or critically endangered mammal species (including the tiger), and where poaching by the very poor local population is rife. Objective: Improve the living conditions of the ethnic communities so as to curb the unsustainable use of natural resources (fauna and flora), inform and educate the local authorities, communities and children about protecting the ecosystem.
Poh Kao, des Tigres et des Hommes is an international solidarity association set up in 2006. It gives local populations professional guidance in farming, livestock raising and animal health. The association also runs awareness campaigns on protecting the tiger and the fauna.Website: www.pohkao.org/
In Peru: Arutam, helping the people of the Upper Amazon keep their forest The Amazon forests are home to an enormous variety of animal and plant species. They are under serious threat of deforestation by outside companies and the local populations do not have the land rights that would enable them to continue living there.
Objective: The aim is to conduct an expedition to identify and inventory the plants, with the help of the indigenous communities and scientists from the Peruvian Amazon Research Institute (IIAP) and the National University of the Peruvian Amazon (UNAP). The project will then promote these species to make the forest a valuable asset, by promoting the communities' knowledge as well as the local plants.
The Arutam Association was set up in 1992. It aims to support the indigenous peoples of the Amazon in their development and promote their knowledge by helping to preserve their natural areas and their biodiversity. Arutam has focused its activities in the fields of traditional healthcare, culture and land rights, in Peru and Ecuador. Website: http://arutam.free.fr/
Because man is at the heart of the problem and because this social aspect is of prime importance for Maisons du Monde, since 2007 we have been supporting efforts to extend the certification of community forests on the island of Central Java in Indonesia.
The project run by the Hara Group (a group of Indonesian suppliers) and Maisons du Monde has identified 80 villages in a 28,000 hectare zone.
The distinctive feature of community forests is that they constitute a source of direct income for farmers. However these projects cannot supply large volumes of timber. Today 600 farmers are involved in the project to extend forest certification and reafforestation, and nearly 2,000 hectares have been awarded the Indonesian LEI ecolabel. FSC International and LEI signed a memorandum of understanding at the end of May 2010 and the two systems have given themselves 18 months for mutual observation.
To boost the certification of this type of project, Maisons du Monde asked the TFT, which supports the Dipantara community forests, to add another 2,000 hectares from the Hara Group project, to help them progress towards FSC certification.
Under the partnership signed with the TFT, part of the funds provided by Maisons du Monde is used to finance field initiatives, while the remainder goes towards traceability inspections in the production plants.
To avoid any wastage of the resource, teak and acacia branches from community forests, which are not normally used by the forestry industry, are collected and used to make a new range of products with a novel touch. Thanks to the creativity of a supplier with a strong commitment to environmental issues and fine craftsmanship, maximum use is made of the resource. The Shoreline collection is the fruit of this inventiveness.
We have worked on limiting the ecological impact of our packaging and, in January 2010, we began distributing 100% biodegradable reusable brown paper bags.
Our catalogs are printed on paper from certified forests. We also belong to an organization called EcoFolio, to which we pay a fee to finance the recycling of our catalogs.
At our headquarters, our waste paper and toner cartridges are collected by a local non-profit organization, "Les Papiers de l'Espoir", which sells the paper to recycling companies to generate funds to finance humanitarian and educational projects in France and in developing countries.
One tonne of paper will pay for 15 schoolbooks. In 2009, Les Papiers de l’Espoir helped with the schooling of 3,500 children.
At our headquarters, on our coffee breaks we always use mugs and cups from our collections to reduce plastic waste. In March 2010, we started buying organic and fair trade tea and coffee.