According to the Sustainable Furnishings Council’s consumer research, 92% of respondents care about buying wood from responsibly managed forests, 95% are interested in textiles certified as safe by a reputable third-party, and 97% prefer to purchase quality materials. As a retailer committed to responsible business practices, one of our biggest impacts comes from the materials we use in our products. Our work has earned recognition across the industry, including:

To meet high standards of leadership, we’ve made big commitments to responsibly sourced materials across all our brands, including:

  • 100% FSC-certified catalog paper since 2006
  • 100% GreenGuard company-produced PB Kids bedroom & nursery furniture by 2020
  • 100% responsibly sourced cotton by 2021
  • 50% responsibly sourced wood by 2021
We rank among the Textile Exchange’s Top Purchasers of Preferred Fibers. Image: West Elm.

Responsibly Sourced Textiles

In textiles, cotton is our greatest volume material. Conventional cotton is one of the world’s most chemical-intensive crops. Pesticides and other highly toxic chemicals impact air, water, soil and the people who grow and process these crops. In  countries that lack environmental regulations, these toxins can destroy land and expose local populations to harmful chemicals.

For these reasons, we’ve committed to 100% responsibly sourced cotton across all WSI brands by 2021. We support the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) as the gold standard in organic cotton certifications because it verifies production from farm to finished product, and the Organic Content Standard (OCS), which supports content claims for all organic inputs, not just cotton. In 2016, we also signed onto the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI). BCI is a global system for cultivating more sustainable cotton. It trains farmers in better practices, including the use of safe and natural alternatives to harmful chemicals.

Fiber Alternatives

Ranked among the non-profit Textile Exchange’s top global companies for preferred fibers, we lead the home furnishings industry in the use of new fibers that offer a more sustainable alternative to traditional materials. Many of our products use REPREVE polyester made from 100% recycled plastic bottles, and we’ve kept 57 million bottles out of landfills through their manufacture and sale. Our TENCEL™ products use a closed-loop (pollution-free) process to transform FSC-certified wood pulp into a silky-smooth fiber, providing a sustainable alternative to viscose or other synthetic, petroleum-based fibers.

Easton Reclaimed Wood Console Table. Image: Pottery Barn.

Responsibly Sourced Wood

Forests filter the water we drink and the air we breathe. Worldwide, 1.6 billion people rely on forests for their livelihoods, including food, clothing or shelter. Deforestation and forest destruction is the second leading cause of carbon pollution, causing 20% of total greenhouse gas emissions.

In furniture, wood is one of the largest volume materials we use. By choosing to use responsibly sourced wood in our products, we support healthy forests and ecosystems. We recognize the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC) as the gold standard for certification of healthy forest management and sustainable timber, and we use reclaimed and recycled wood whenever possible. As a member of World Wildlife Fund’s Global Forest & Trade Network (GFTN), we also set goals to engage our suppliers to adopt year-over-year improvements towards higher responsible sourcing standards.

Fair Trade™, FSC® & Greenguard Gold Certified Mid-Century Crib. Image: West Elm x Pottery Barn Kids.

Nontoxic Finishes

We are committed to the health and safety of our customers. All of our products meet national and state laws for restricted substances and emissions. We meet and exceed these regulations with rigorous testing standards for quality and safety. We also have dedicated teams, at the corporate level and at each brand, tasked with evaluating the latest research into safer materials and new techniques.

We’re continually expanding our offering of low-VOC (volatile organic compound) and water-based furniture finishes. Products with finishes that use fewer harsh solvents and emit fewer Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) improve indoor air quality for our factory workers and in customers’ homes. This is particularly important to our children’s products, as the health impacts of chemicals and indoor air pollution are dangerous to children. Pottery Barn Kids and Teen are proud to lead the industry through their commitment to safe and nontoxic products, including GREENGUARD Certified furniture.

Williams Sonoma has committed to 100% Fair Trade Coffee by 2020. Image: Williams Sonoma.

Quality Food

We offer the best quality foods, made with the purest ingredients possible, whether sourced from around the world or developed in our own test kitchen. We do not use high-fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated fats, partially hydrogenated oils, artificial flavors or preservatives, and we do our best to avoid high levels of sodium. We are increasing our percentage of organic and non-GMO ingredients, and we continue to celebrate local food artisans and assortments in our communities. The Williams Sonoma brand has also committed to 100% Fair Trade Certified™ coffee by 2020, and 100% of their cookware is PFOA-free.

Third-Party Certifications

All of the products we sell are required to meet national and state laws for restricted substances and emissions, and we invest in meeting and exceeding these standards throughout the WSI value chain—from design to production to testing. See our Product Safety & Testing policy for more information. To help customers make informed purchases and to verify certain sustainability claims, we also seek third-party certifications for many products. We use several different types of seals, and to simplify our messaging we’ve grouped certifications into a series of standard icons. Across brands, these icons identify Organic, Sustainably Sourced, Fair Trade, Handcrafted, and Certified Nontoxic products.

Organic, Sustainably Sourced, Certified Nontoxic, Fair Trade and Handcrafted Certifications.

Organic

When you shop for cotton made without harmful chemicals or pesticides, you’re contributing to cleaner soil and waterways. Third-party certifications include:

Sustainably Sourced

When shopping for recycled, reclaimed, alternative or responsibly harvested materials that meet high social and environmental standards, customers can choose products certified by:

Fair Trade Certified

Help ensure fair and safe labor practices, improve livelihoods and empower workers to invest in their communities with products certified by Fair Trade USA®.

Certified Nontoxic

Shop for furniture and textiles tested for harmful chemicals and VOCs, so the air you breathe and the products you use are cleaner. Certifications include:

Handcrafted

Celebrate and preserve craft traditions around the world by supporting ethical handcraft. For certification, we work with:

Assessing Our Impact

Every year, we report on our progress with transparent metrics including percentages of certified products, as well as percentages of responsibly sourced materials using a Good-Better-Best approach.

Cotton is categorized as: 

  • Best – Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)
  • Better – Organic Content Standard (OCS) and recycled cotton
  • Good – Better Cotton Initiative™ (BCI) and Standard 100 by OEKO-TEX®

Wood is categorized as: 

  • Best – Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC)
  • Better – Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), Rediscovered wood (reclaimed/recycled and orchard wood sources), FSC® Controlled Wood
  • Good – verified legal and low-risk wood for legality, as defined by NEPCon’s Timber Risk Assessments and FSC’s National Risk Assessments

As we work towards completion of our 2021 goals, we’re examining ways to expand sustainable sourcing and increase our use of responsible materials and finishes.

Related Stories, Statements & Policies