Let’s say you’re in the market for a wooden armchair. If you stop to think about how it has been made, you’d expect the wood to come from a big tree that’s been cut down, sawn up and fitted together.

That’s not what happens on Gavin Munro’s furniture farm.

On 2.5 acres in England’s Peak District, the co-founder of Full Grown and his colleagues plant, train and prune young tree branches into the shape of a chair, lampshade or table. Each piece is then harvested, dried out, and planed before it’s ready for sale.

Munro says force-growing a tree, cutting it down and making it into smaller bits that can come unstuck once they’ve been glued back together “seems like an absolute waste”. Full Grown’s idea is to grow the tree into the shape it wants and then graft it into one solid piece. “It's a kind of zen 3D printing,” he says.

 It takes the company four to eight years to produce a specially grown chair.
Image: Full Grown

Because of the effort involved in producing the furniture, Full Grown is only a small-scale solution to slowing deforestation. And with a pricetag of £10,000, these chairs are never going to be mainstream.

But it is one of several schemes demonstrating there is an alternative to logging.

In Berlin, Geyersbach makes furniture out of wood reclaimed from local buildings.

German recycled furniture company Geyersbach uses wood reclaimed from local buildings.
Image: Geyersbach

What’s the World Economic Forum doing about deforestation?

Halting deforestation is essential to avoiding the worst effects of global climate change.

The destruction of forests creates almost as much greenhouse gas emissions as global road travel, and yet it continues at an alarming rate.

In 2012, we brought together more than 150 partners working in Latin America, West Africa, Central Africa and South-East Asia – to establish the Tropical Forest Alliance 2020: a global public-private partnership to facilitate investment in systemic change.

The Alliance, made up of businesses, governments, civil society, indigenous people, communities and international organizations, helps producers, traders and buyers of commodities often blamed for causing deforestation to achieve deforestation-free supply chains.

The Commodities and Forests Agenda 2020, summarizes the areas in which the most urgent action is needed to eliminate deforestation from global agricultural supply chains.

The Tropical Forest Alliance 2020 is gaining ground on tackling deforestation linked to the production of four commodities: palm oil, beef, soy, and pulp and paper.

Get in touch to join our mission to halt to deforestation.

The platform beds produced by US company Thuma are crafted from upcycled, repurposed rubberwood – and Thuma plants a tree every time a bed is purchased.

Trees play a vital role in slowing climate change. Deforestation and forest degradation cause at least 15% of all greenhouse gas emissions. Globally, we cut down around 15 billion trees a year.

Fields for thought

Full Grown is currently growing 250 chairs, 100 lamps and 50 tables, and hopes to have a full harvest in 2022, with help from a crowdfunding campaign.

 Full Grown’s lamps are grown from willow.
Image: Full Grown

It takes close to 10 years to produce each piece, and they are already working on an order that will be ready in 2030.

It’s a chair for a customer’s retirement.