It's time we got serious about sustainable practices rather than just engage in these catchphrases. Image Credit: Supplied

Sustainable. Ethically sourced. Authentically handmade. Empowering artisans....

Are these just catchphrases? In a world where consumerism is the norm, and insatiable trendies are searching for validation in the next interior design trends, people are changing cheap furniture as quickly as they’re changing their fashion wardrobes.

But at what cost? This should be an invitation to pause and think generationally and longitudinally... and becoming more aware of the footprints we’re leaving behind for those who walk after us.

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Give a thought

It is clear that most home interior shops are fast-furniture outlets. However, have we ever taken into consideration the fight against child labour, deforestation and head-in-sand “solutions” many corporations seem to negate in their attempt to turn over a quick profit and pump out products that seemingly has an expiration date secretly attached to it.

The value of long-lasting pieces appears to be diminished by consumers’ need for the “next best thing”. It is time furniture and home décor shops feel the call to action - and call consumers to action as each individual is powerful in making a difference to the world we live in.


It’s time these glitzy shops give shape to creations fashioned from sustainable natural materials that are reusable or biodegradable and handcrafted by artisans through community-based production incorporating skills passed on from generation to generation. Empower artisans to work directly with the artist instead of sourcing through third-parties. No factories should be involved in the production of their pieces, and let each piece tell or narrate a story.

Stop endorsing 'fast-furniture' and opt for pieces that are 100 per cent biodegradable. Stay away from plastic and choose bamboo that “gives back” to the earth.

A handy element

Bamboo forests are capable of absorbing 50 tons of carbon dioxide per hectare per year (more than other plants) and releasing 35 per cent more oxygen than other plants. This is the ultimate sustainable material being a powerful water reservoir of the topsoil that sustains the living ecosystem.

It is lightweight, yet stronger than steel and three times harder than hardwood. Reaching maturity before five years, it is the fastest growing plant on the planet, combatting the heavy-handed industry of wooden furniture where you have to wait upwards of 20 years for trees to regrow.

Tackling deforestation, bamboo helps to preserve and repair the local ecosystem. Bamboo empowers local communities with the global bamboo industry developing rapidly, offering opportunities for rural communities in bamboo-producing countries.

Change the narrative

Sustainability is about looking after the environment as well as the communities who populate it. Awareness empowers us to make better choices and helps us understand that it just takes one conscious shift together to find something richer and more valuable than satiating a dying trend of consumerism and microwave mindsets.

- Jo England is the founder of tribe, a bespokehome decor studio.