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Ethan Allen Achieves ‘Sustainable By Design’ Registration

Furniture Industry News Update - Furniture World Magazine
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Article Summary: EFEC was created by AHFA for the home furnishings industry to help companies develop specific systems and procedures for improving management of resources and raw materials, reducing energy and water consumption, and reducing waste disposal and associated costs.


The American Home Furnishings Alliance reported taht Ethan Allen Global Inc. has successfully completed Sustainable by Design registration, awarded by the American Home Furnishings Alliance for the company’s continued environmental improvements.

To enter the Sustainable by Design program, Ethan Allen first had to implement AHFA’s EFEC environmental management program at all of its domestic manufacturing facilities. EFEC was created by AHFA for the home furnishings industry to help companies develop specific systems and procedures for improving management of resources and raw materials, reducing energy and water consumption, and reducing waste disposal and associated costs.

Ethan Allen completed EFEC at five manufacturing plants and one sawmill in August 2012.
These included a wood furniture plant in Old Fort, N.C.; an upholstery manufacturing complex in Maiden, N.C.; a wood furniture plant and sawmill in Beecher Falls, Vt., that dates back to the 1800s; a wood furniture plant in Orleans, Vt.; and a home accents (custom lighting and wall décor) plant and distribution facility in Passaic, N.J.

The Sustainable by Design program takes EFEC’s culture of environmental stewardship and extends it throughout a company’s global supply chain. The program helps companies establish internal standards, practices and management systems that measure their own environmental performance, but it also helps them arrive at standards for monitoring the environmental performance of suppliers worldwide.

“We are very proud of the eco-conscious culture and the significant environmental achievements Ethan Allen has made throughout the entire company,” states Ethan Allen Chairman, President and CEO Farooq Kathwari. “Our SBD registration is an important milestone for us, and we will continue to advance our efforts to improve our impact on our domestic and global communities.”

EFEC sets the course for a company’s environmental journey, because it works to change the culture within a company, beginning on the factory floor, explains Bill Perdue, AHFA’s vice president of regulatory affairs. “Sustainable by Design moves companies to the next level, helping them establish corporate goals for environmental improvements that take into account the global supply chain, not just domestic operations.”

To complete its Sustainable by Design registration, Ethan Allen was required to establish goals and a system for evaluating annual improvements in the following areas:

  • Supply chain management, including assisting suppliers worldwide in the development and implementation of sustainability programs;
  • Using eco-friendly materials, including certified lumber and low-emitting UF resins;
  • Global climate impact, including calculating a baseline carbon footprint; and,
  • Social responsibility, including establishing policies that define the company’s commitment to the protection and advancement of human rights in all areas of the world where the company does business.
In the area of supply chain management, Ethan Allen has implemented a program to partner with its suppliers in improving environmental performance. The program encompasses both domestic and offshore suppliers.

Ethan Allen’s commitment to using eco-friendly materials includes using only CertiPUR-US certified foam in mattresses and upholstery. This means all foams have been tested and certified by an independent, accredited laboratory as containing low-VOC emission materials made without formaldehyde, mercury, lead, heavy metals, PBDEs, ozone-depleting chemicals or phthalates.

Most of Ethan Allen’s lumber requirements are met with native hardwood species from lands that are intensively managed by professional foresters on a sustained yield basis. The company also has systems in place to help ensure that suppliers of non-native species, including mahogany, are sourcing legally from properly managed forests.

For measuring global climate impact, Ethan Allen has developed a carbon footprint calculator to monitor greenhouse gas and CO² emissions for all of its processes. Baseline emissions were established for 2010 and are being tracked with a goal of reporting results on the company’s corporate website.

In the area of social responsibility, Ethan Allen has documented its commitment to human rights in a policy published on its website. The company has also established preferable purchasing guidelines for the selection of suppliers and contractors based on their commitment to human rights and environmental awareness.

Ethan Allen is the eighth AHFA company to achieve Sustainable by Design. Others include Flexsteel Inds., Century Furniture, Kincaid Furniture, C.R. Laine, American Drew/Lea Industries and Hickory Chair. All Sustainable by Design registrations are audited annually.

In addition to achieving Sustainable by Design within the manufacturing arm of the company, Ethan Allen has completed the first step in extending the EFEC environmental management program throughout its entire retail division – a vanguard effort spearheaded by the company’s environmental leadership, including Paul Kaminski, corporate director of environment, health and safety, and Jack Clark, corporate manager of environment, health and safety.

In October the first six facilities – all retail service and warehouse/distribution centers – completed EFEC registration. Ethan Allen plans to eventually extend the EFEC program into all of its company-owned retail locations, which currently number about 150.

Altogether, the EFEC environmental management program has been implemented at 79 different U.S. facilities, including manufacturing plants, warehouses and corporate headquarters buildings, in 17 states and Mexico.

The American Home Furnishings Alliance, based in High Point, N.C., represents more than 200 leading furniture manufacturers and distributors, plus about 150 suppliers to the furniture industry worldwide. AHFA helps develop voluntary environmental, product safety and construction standards for residential furnishings and advocates on behalf of the residential furniture industry on legislative and regulatory issues that impact the health of the industry.

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