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:
- Sustainable Furnishings Council Top 10 Global Company
- Barron’s 100 Most Sustainable U.S. Companies
- REPREVE® Champion of Sustainability
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 Gold company-produced PB Kids bedroom & nursery furniture by 2020
- 100% responsibly sourced cotton by 2021
- 50% responsibly sourced wood by 2021
- 75% of products labeled with one or more of our social or environmental initiatives by 2030
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 Better Cotton (BC). BC 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.
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® recycled polyester, and we’ve diverting 93 million bottles made of plastic bound for oceans and landfills to date. 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.
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 are the second leading causes 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 Forests Forward, we engage diverse organizations and groups to improve forest management and responsible trade worldwide.
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 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 products safe from harmful chemicals, including GREENGUARD GOLD Certified furniture.
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.
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.
When you shop for cotton made without harmful chemicals or pesticides, you’re contributing to cleaner soil and waterways. Third-party certifications include:
When shopping for recycled, reclaimed, alternative or responsibly harvested materials that meet high social and environmental standards, customers can choose products certified by:
- Recycled Claim Standard (RCS)
- Global Recycled Standard (GRS)
- Responsible Down Standard (RDS)
- Responsible Wool Standard (RWS)
- Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®)
- TENCEL™ Lyocell and Modal cellulose fibers
- REPREVE® Recycled Plastic Fibers
- Econyl® Regenerated Nylon
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®.
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:
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™ and Standard 100 by OEKO-TEX®
Wood is categorized as:
- Best – Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC)
- Better – Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) from low-risk countries, Rediscovered wood (reclaimed/recycled and orchard wood sources), FSC® Controlled Wood
- Good – verified legal and low-risk wood for legality (as defined by Preferred by Nature’s Timber Risk Assessments and FSC’s National Risk Assessments)
We are a proud member of Better Cotton. Better Cotton is sourced via a system of mass balance and is not physically traceable to end products. Learn more at bettercotton.org/massbalance.