Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association (BIFMA) International, the trade association for the commercial furniture industry, has launched its “level” product certification program. The sustainability standard takes into account material use, energy and atmosphere impacts, human and ecosystem health and social responsibility.
Manufacturers evaluating products to the BIFMA e3 sustainability standard and undergoing an independent, third-party certification process can achieve the level conformance mark. NSF International and Scientific Certification Systems (SCS) are the first third-party certification bodies to be recognized under the level certification program.
The standard is modeled after Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) with specific prerequisites, optional credits, and three conformance levels. LEED and its Green Building Rating System provide several best sustainable practices for furniture.
BIFMA member firms Allsteel, Gunlocke, HON Company, Herman Miller, Kimball Office, National Office Furniture and Steelcase have products that meet the standard’s requirements and have received third party certification by either NSF or SCS.
The furnishings industry has an existing environmental audit program called Enhancing Furniture’s Environmental Culture (EFEC) program through the American Home Furnishings Alliance. To become EFEC-registered, companies need to analyze and understand the environmental impact of its processes, raw materials and finished products on a facility-by-facility basis.