Plans unveiled for garden furniture eco-standard

Proposals to introduce a new environmental standard for garden furniture were revealed this week as a consultation on the plans was launched at SOLEX.

The standard, which has the working title LOFA Mark, is now in a four-month consultation period with members, retailers and environmental organisations all expected to contribute.

Under the scheme, products would be given an easy-to-understand label relating to the environmental characteristics of the item.

This would be different for each individual item and might include the wood sourcing for furniture, or the working conditions in quarries for products like granite tables.

LOFA Mark project manager Steve Hallam said the scheme was a result of evidence of consumer demand for more information on the environmental impact of their purchases. "They are what we call the lighter green consumer and they are people who would rather do something more beneficial for the environment," he said.

Sustainable development expert Dr Alan Knight, who has worked for B&Q and Wyevale, is involved in the creation of the standard and, following the consultation period, LOFA members will be expected to categorise their products.

It is anticipated the LOFA Mark products would be on retail sale in garden centres by spring 2010.

As well as members, LOFA will also ask bodies including Defra, the Carbon Trust and the Garden Centre Association to contribute to the consultation.

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