Is Teak Sustainable? The Story Of Sustainable Teak
Teak is beloved for its weatherproof properties and durability, but is teak sustainable? At AuthenTEAK, we put practices in place to ensure that our teak furniture is sourced and crafted sustainably. Heres what goes into sustainably sourced and produced teak:
Teak’s reputation as a durable, long-lasting outdoor material has made it vulnerable to over-harvesting.
Sustainably sourced teak wood comes from facilities in Indonesia under the jurisdiction of Perum Perhutani, a state-owned enterprise responsible for the oversight of teak production.
Sustainable teak outdoor furniture is made by local Indonesian workers using time-tested methods and Grade-A, responsibly harvested plantation teak.
The result is a win for everyone: sustainably harvested and produced teak furniture that’s beautiful, durable, and made to last for generations.
Is Teak Sustainable?
Teak is a beautiful, durable choice for outdoor furniture, but is teak sustainable? If manufactured and harvested correctly, yes. Sustainably sourced teak comes from facilities in Indonesia under the jurisdiction of Perum Perhutani and is made by employing local Indonesian workers using time-tested methods and Grade-A, responsibly harvested plantation teak.
The teak commonly used in outdoor furniture today comes from the wood species known as Tectona Grandis. This large flowering tree is native to south and southeast Asia. Thanks to its impermeability, natural beauty, and resistance to rot and mold, teak has long been prized as a material for shipbuilding and outdoor furniture.
The high oil content of teak also makes it waterproof and impervious to termites and other pests, and thanks to its tight grain, this wood is strong but easy to work with, lending itself to a variety of different shapes and uses. Due to the extreme durability of teak, it is common to see teak furniture passed down from generation to generation. This is why we use the term “heirloom teak” to refer to these pieces, which will endure indoors or out for generations to come.
SUSTAINABLE GROWTH AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
Teak is beautiful, durable, and easy to care for, but is teak sustainable? Because teak’s reputation as a durable, long-lasting outdoor material has made it vulnerable to over-harvesting, the Indonesian government created a state-owned enterprise known as Perum Perhutani, which is responsible for the oversight of teak production in Java and Madura. Perum Perhutani develops well-managed forests, promotes biodiversity, and improves the quality of life for those involved in the production of teak.
The Perum Perhutani system also incorporates Agroforestry, allowing locals to farm other crops among rows of planted teak trees to earn additional income. Local residents are also taught the skills needed to build high-quality teak furniture, giving them a sustainable industry and wage.
HARVESTING SUSTAINABLE, GRADE-A TEAK
Perum Perhutani controls the production and harvesting of trees within the teak plantation system, ensuring that only mature trees are harvested and that there’s enough reforestation to maintain the forest.
With an average maturation time of 50 years, this is a time-consuming labor of love, but it’s worth the wait. Mature teak trees produce a higher yield of high-quality, Grade-A teak, which can be identified by its golden-brown color. Furniture made with Grade-A teak has more longevity and strength and—because it's infused with natural oils—rarely needs to be treated with teak oil. Lower-grade teak, also known as “sapwood,” comes from trees harvested before they have reached maturity and can be identified by its light, yellow color.
See also: Outdoor Furniture Care 101
SUSTAINABLE TEAK OUTDOOR FURNITURE
Trusted, reputable furniture brands such as Kingsley Bate, POVL Outdoor, Barlow Tyrie, Cane-line, and Gloster (to name a few) have facilities in Indonesia under the jurisdiction of Perum Perhutani to build their teak furniture from sustainable, Grade-A, and responsibly harvested plantation teak. These manufacturers use only legally harvested teak and employ local workers to hand-craft their furniture according to time-tested methods. The result is a win for everyone: sustainable teak furniture that’s beautiful, durable, and made to last for generations.