Designer slams illegal wood claim

Claims that illegal timber products were on sale at Chelsea have been refuted by suppliers.

A garden furniture designer and maker has hit back at claims he offered to sell hardwood from unprotected rainforests at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. East Sussex-based Stockton Furniture representative Jonathan Stockton denied the allegations in The Independent claiming he offered to sell products made from wood uncertified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). The RHS has guidelines ensuring all furniture at its shows is from sustainable sources. The newspaper claimed it teamed up with Greenpeace at the show and found sales staff taking orders for Burmese teak furniture. Teak from Burma is not FSC-certified and is widely condemned by environmental groups for allowing logging in endangered rainforests. But Stockton said: “Everything that was on that stand was totally certified and in accordance with the guidelines. I clearly stated that I’m currently in search of a certified teak of the suitable standard.” Stockton said he had a sign at the site which said he was searching for certified teak to sell. Northamptonshire-based TFT Garden Furniture also denied selling any teak at the Chelsea show. The claims follow a similar issue at Malvern Spring Gardening Show last month, where trader Stephen Vincent of Garden Xtras said uncertified furniture was on sale. The RHS encouraged buyers to “ask for proof or certification from exhibitors before purchasing”. All exhibitors are required to provide certification to confirm that their timber has been sourced from sustainable forests.

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