European Level: New standard for sustainable office furniture
Most eco-labels for office and contract furniture only cover a small part of the relevant sustainability criteria. Volker Weßels from the Industrial Association of Office and Work World (IBA) explains why this is different with the European level certificate.
The European-Level certificate certifies that environmental and social criteria are observed in the manufacture of office and contract furniture. It is based on the FEMB sustainability standard. The FEMB association represents many office furniture manufacturers operating in Europe. The European level certificate is intended to give product developers, manufacturers and buyers of office furniture a comprehensive overview of all sustainability criteria. The symbol has so far been used by eleven manufacturers with over 200 products.
The certificate stands out from other labels because it documents the only ISO accredited standard for “sustainable” office and contract furniture. This is also the most comprehensive sustainability standard for such furniture. The standard already covers the growing market requirements for public procurement (Green Public Procurement) and for the circular economy almost completely. The current update of the FEMB standard will reinforce this area. Thanks to the official accreditation according to ISO standards, the level certificate also has worldwide credibility.In the level certification process, the product, production location and company behavior are checked. The assessment is based on sustainability criteria in the four areas of material, energy and atmosphere, human health and the ecosystem, and social responsibility. The certificate is awarded in three ranks, the highest level is level 3.
Material and energy
The first impact area evaluates the influence of materials on the sustainability of products, the efficient use of natural resources, product development, the proportion of recycled materials, water and waste management as well as packaging and the product life cycle.In “Energy and Atmosphere”, among other things, the development of a company-related energy policy, audits on energy and greenhouse gases, the generation and use of renewable energies, gray energy contained in the product and reports on greenhouse gas emissions are examined in more detail.
Health and responsibility
The area of impact “Human health and the ecosystem” takes into account, for example, the effects of chemical substances on humans and the natural environment. The products, production processes and the measures for servicing and maintaining the production facilities are considered.Finally, social responsibility is checked. It is important to identify possible potential hazards for employees and the environment. The criteria include, for example, inclusion, communal and social commitment on the part of the company and the anchoring of social responsibility in the supply chain.
Here you can find a video presentation about the Level certification from Volker Weßels, Head of the sustainability department at the IBA. Currently it’s only available in german: