The aim of the scheme is to enable the companies that are members of LOFA, some of which are very small, to make a real contribution to reducing the impact of their activities on the environment and improving the conditions of the people that make their products.
When we first looked at the environmental impacts of outdoor furniture and barbecues we anticipated that there would be existing schemes that we could use, adopt or partner with. But we found that the only area in which appropriate schemes existed was the sourcing of timber. As timber is only used in about 10% of the products that LOFA members market, and as raw material sourcing is only one of six types of impact that are involved, it quickly became apparent that appropriate existing schemes simply did not exist. So we had to grasp the challenge of developing a new scheme from scratch.
We also found that the approaches used by many existing schemes require a certain minimum level of financial or managerial resource to participate. As many LOFA members are very small companies, we needed to develop an approach that all of our members could cope with, while still achieving something that was worthwhile.
LOFA has around 70 member companies who collectively account for a significant proportion of the outdoor furniture and barbecues that are sold in the UK. The contribution that individual members are able to make will vary, but collectively the impact will be considerable over time – significantly greater than the figures that have already been achieved and are shown on the Achievements page.