Sage in Design and our partners are dedicated to the goal of sustainability, both environmental and social. From the outset, our mission has been to provide consumers and suppliers with a top-quality, eco-friendly alternative to Burmese teak. A great example is our new KYMP bench designed by Tucker Waugh. The bench is made with our FSC teak and the frame is made of recycled aluminum.
Our teak plantations are situated on the reclaimed ranch lands along Mexico’s Pacific coast. On these plantations, our trees are grown slowly and naturally, without the use of fertilizers or irrigation. This not only minimizes our ecological footprint, but also ensures that our plantation teak has the classic look and feel of classic old-growth teak. We call it “Slow Growth Teak.”
Our plantations are the closest teak source to the United States, thus significantly reducing the carbon footprint. Renewable wood products store carbon, permanently removing it from the atmosphere. Our carefully managed plantations cover 8,000 acres of previously-cleared ranch lands and are now home to more than 3.3 million trees. On a daily basis, our plantations capture the CO2 equivalent to that emitted by 20 million cars. In addition to our resource-conscious management, our plantations preserve 2,000 acres of virgin tropical forests that stand adjacent to our planted areas. The forestry practices of Sage in Design’s partners have earned our plantations the distinction of an FSC (Forestry Stewardship Council) certification.
Much of the world’s teak comes from Southeast Asia’s old-growth forests, particularly the nation of Myanmar (formerly known as Burma). Not only must this old-growth teak be shipped from the opposite side of the planet, its sale helps fund a notoriously brutal military junta that has controlled Burma since 1962. The U.S. Treasury has banned all imported teak from Myanmar (Burma). This country is led by one of the most corrupt military governments in the world. Burma’s junta run government is notorious for its systematic rape, torture, forced prostitution, displacement and judicial killings of its ethnic women. Women all over the country have fled to the seclusion of the nearby jungles to hide from the brutality moving through their villages. One platoon of soldiers moved from home to home, gang raping every woman in the village and later returned and killed them. Their abuse extends to the Asian elephants that are essential to the teak logging trade. These beautiful animals have been pumped full of addictive methamphetamine and literally worked to death. These are only a few examples of the horrors of this regime. You could be supporting this brutal regime without knowing it because Burmese teak is laundered through China and India into the U.S. The Burmese teak industry provides huge financial support to this corrupt military government.
In contrast, our partner’s renewable forestry operations seek to revitalize the agricultural economy in coastal Mexico by employing workers at fair wages and benefits in a traditionally low-income area of Mexico. We are proud of our product and our values and those of our partners. Commitment to sustainability and quality has helped our teak supplier become one of the largest teak growers in the western hemisphere. We look forward to providing sustainable plantation teak for years and years to come.