A Path to Greener Business: Navigating Sustainability Certifications in the Furniture Industry

Sustainability has been an increasingly crucial focus for businesses, driven by consumers’ demand for more eco-friendly products and services, and the corporate world’s efforts to reduce their environmental impact for a cleaner future. In the furniture industry, there’s a great opportunity for companies to embrace environmental stewardship and adopt greener practices. Many businesses, such as Steelcase, a workplace solutions provider with an extensive catalog of furniture and technology products, utilize third-party sustainability certifications to demonstrate their commitment to sustainable practices, ensuring transparency and accountability in the process.

Sustainability certifications, often referred to as eco-labels, are voluntary guidelines that companies follow to meet specific environmental, social, and governance (ESG) standards. These certifications promote employee engagement and foster a more environmentally friendly corporate culture. They also serve as valuable tools when researching products and services that align with college sustainability goals and help demonstrate compliance with building rating systems such as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. There are several programs available, each with its unique focus and criteria. Some private sector eco-labels that highlight environmentally preferable products and services include:

  • LEVEL by BIFMA: LEVEL evaluates the sustainability of furniture products, manufacturing facilities, and companies employing rigorous multi-attribute criteria to assess the environmental, health, and social impacts throughout a product’s life cycle.
  • Cradle-to-Cradle Certified Products Program: Cradle-to-Cradle certification assesses the sustainability of products, materials, and their manufacturing processes across five key areas: material health, product circularity, clean air and climate protection, water and soil stewardship, and social fairness.
  • CarbonNeutral Product Certification: A service of Climate Impact Partners, CarbonNeutral certification verifies that a product or company has a net-zero carbon footprint, meaning all emissions associated with the product’s life cycle have been offset through a combination of in-house and external emission reduction projects.
  • SCS Indoor Advantage Certification: Indoor Advantage certification is based on independent lab tests and confirms that a product or service emits low volatile organic compound emissions (VOC) and meets stringent indoor air quality emission requirements.
  • Declare Certification: Based on the Living Building Challenge requirements and Red List of materials harmful to human health and the environment, Declare certification ensures company transparency and material health by requiring disclosure of product ingredients and residuals.

As consumers look for ways to navigate the complex sustainable products marketplace, eco-labels can serve as an excellent starting point in understanding the values of potential suppliers. For companies like Steelcase, which have earned multiple product certifications, including LEVEL, CarbonNeutral, SCS Indoor Advantage, and Declare certifications, these labels showcase their unwavering commitment to greener practices and reflect their core values of driving sustainable social, economic, and environmental change.

CollegeBuys takes pride in supporting district modernization efforts as they transition to sustainable alternatives. For additional information about CollegeBuys’ FF&E contract portfolio, please explore our Furniture and Fixtures contracts page or contact us directly at cbcontracts@foundationccc.org.

Similar Posts