The issue

Rattan is a naturally renewable climbing palm that grows in tropical Africa, Asia and Australasia.  Most commercial rattan is produced in Southeast Asia and used for furniture, handicrafts, and building materials. The climbing plant relies on other trees for support; this can help prevent deforestation because it is in the interest of rattan growers to preserve existing trees. Harvesting, processing and selling of rattan supports rural and smallholder livelihoods in South and Southeast Asia.

The challenge

Because of the number of smallholder farmers involved, it is difficult to trace rattan to its source.  Although many large furniture makers use rattan, an industry-wide certification system has yet to be introduced.

Soane’s commitment

Rattan is vitally important to our business and we want to be confident that it is responsibly harvested and processed.  We are exploring sourcing our rattan through a partnership with a non-profit organisation that supports forest regeneration and improved livelihoods.  Also, we are collaborating with specialists at the world-renowned Kew Gardens to help us make it easier to trace the sources of our rattan.

Due to the small nature of our rattan sources and complex geopolitical landscape, FSC or otherwise third party certified rattan is not commercially available on the global market for purchase in raw form. We will continue to work with the WWF and Kew Gardens to try and find sources of rattan that meet our goals, and we look forward to updating you on our progress.