Skip to Content

ANSI/BIFMA e3 Furniture Sustainability Standard and the level® certification program

Web Resources
Back to Search Tool

Key to Data

Evaluation Tool

ANSI/BIFMA e3 Furniture Sustainability Standard and the level® certification program

Tool Category

Standards, Certifications & Labels

At a Glance

The ANSI/BIFMA (Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturer's Association) e3 Furniture Sustainability Standard is a voluntary standard that aims to provide a transparent, measurable, consensus-based and mulit-attribute standard to evaluate the sustainability attributes of business and institutional furniture products. Third-party certifiers conduct independent reviews to confer the "level®" certification on furniture products meeting the standard. This certification enables retailers to make informed choices about commercial furniture; certified products are available on the website.

Tool Website(s)

www.bifma.org/standards/index.html and levelcertified.org/

Tool Owner/Sponsor

The Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association (BIFMA) International

Type of Entity

Industry trade organization

Focus of Evaluation

Products, companies

Product Stage of Life Evaluated

Raw materials, manufacturing, transportation, end of life

Impact(s) Evaluated

Air emissions, ecological health, energy use, human health, material impacts, social responsibility

Tool Description

The level sustainability standard is divided into four basic elements: materials, energy and atmosphere, human and ecosystem health, and social responsibility. Within each of the four sections, credits can be acquired based on a product's adherence to, or achievements beyond the requirements. The level brand identifies a product that has been vetted by an independent third party certifier. A rating of 1, 2, or 3 indicates which threshold of certification it has achieved, with level 3 certification being the highest (similar to a platinum ranking in the LEED rating system). ANSI.BIFMA has also published a Chemicals of Concern list with over 500 chemicals that manufacturers and retailers should be aware of.

Product Categories

Furniture

Tool Requirements

Manufacturers submit products for certification. The data required of them is primarily documentation and process audit data. The type of data varies based on the specific credit requirements but falls into the four categories: materials, energy and atmosphere, human and ecosystem health, and social responsibility. In materials for example, the prerequisite is that a design for environment (DFE) program must be in place, followed by an assessment of a variety of component parts. There are rewards for reporting and eventually reducing or eliminating chemicals on the list from finished products and manufacturing processes.

Cost of Tool

Pricing of the standard is $84 for members, and $105 for non-members. See order form: https://bifma.org/secure/orderform.html Evaluation by 2nd or 3rd parties is not included.

Evaluation Frequency

Re-assessment is required every 3 years unless a material or process change is implemented sooner that could impact conformance. Level certification requires annual surveillance audits.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Strengths: The focus of the standard is continuous improvement. It is the first furniture standard to include a chemicals of concern list.

Weaknesses: The credit structure may ignore some potential environmental impacts.

Examples of Retailers That Use It

Office Depot

Similar Tools that Serve the Same Industry or Product Category

Cradle to Cradle® Certification, SMaRT© 4.0 Sustainable Product Standard

For More Information

Brad Miller: bmiller@bifma.org

Web Resources
Back to Search Tool