ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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Getting Green: Sustainability Guidelines for Office Furniture Industry

New York, Apr 25, 2005

The Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association (BIFMA) International, an American National Standards Institute member and accredited standards developer, has released a set of guidelines to assist office furniture manufacturers and suppliers in their plans for adopting and improving sustainable business practices. The BIFMA Sustainability Guidelines provide direction to companies that wish to establish and/or expand their environmental management systems (EMS) to integrate sustainable practices into their operations.

Developed by volunteers and industry partners over several years of study, the guidelines are intended for companies in the office furniture industry so that best practices may be shared, an increase in the implementation of sustainable practices may occur, and sustainability awareness may be elevated with industry partners, stakeholders and the communities in which they operate.

“In passing the Sustainability Guidelines, BIFMA's members now have a valuable compass to guide them on their journey toward implementing more effective manufacturing operations while reducing their ecological impact,” said Bill Stough, CEO of the Sustainable Research Group. “I believe this forward-thinking tool will help its users maintain profitability in a more resource constrained economic environment.”

The benefits of implementing sustainable business practices can include increased profits, improved environmental performance, and a commitment to social equity issues important to key stakeholders including employees, customers, investors, and regulators. Companies and industries as a whole can gain from enhancing operations with sustainable business practices. Consumers increasingly demand “green” products from socially responsible businesses. The impetus for standardization in this area was most notable in March when a working group of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) launched a new work item that will provide guiding principles on social responsibility. ISO’s Environmental management systems standard (ISO 14001) has been a tool for many years for companies to use to advance the environmental and social impact of their corporate activities, and the BIFMA Sustainability Guidelines are consistent with the requirements of ISO 14001. [See related story: Earth Day Celebrates 35 Years of Increasing Environmental Awareness]

The following online resources are provided in the guidelines as a partial list of the many available programs and organizations working on sustainable business practices:

Established in 1973, BIFMA International is a not-for-profit trade association of furniture manufacturers and suppliers that serves as the industry voice for workplace solutions by providing standards development, statistical data generation, government relations, industry promotion, and education.

Download the BIFMA Sustainability Guidelines

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