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Ethan Allen Registers Five Facilities In EFEC Program

Furniture Industry News Update - Furniture World Magazine
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The American Home Furnishings Alliance announced that Ethan Allen has completed EFEC registration at all of its domestic manufacturing facilities, including five manufacturing plants and one sawmill. EFEC – or Enhancing Furniture’s Environmental Culture – is a voluntary environmental management program created for the residential furniture industry by the American Home Furnishings Alliance.

“We are proud of our commitment to environmental stewardship,” says Ethan Allen Chairman President and CEO, Farooq Kathwari. “In all of our facilities, we work hard every day to not only make the best use of our resources but also to ensure the health and safety of our employees and their communities.”

The manufacturing facilities include a wood furniture plant in Old Fort, N.C.; Ethan Allen’s 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.

Eventually, Ethan Allen plans to extend the EFEC environmental management system into all of its company-owned retail locations, which currently number about 150. This would be the first application of the EFEC program in a retail setting.

To achieve EFEC registration, a facility must:

• Improve management of resources and raw materials;
• Reduce energy and water consumption; and,
• Reduce waste disposal and associated costs.

“Ethan Allen has had a solid commitment to environmental stewardship for many years,” notes Bill Perdue, AHFA’s vice president of regulatory affairs and administrator of the EFEC program. “The EFEC program helped renew excitement for recycling and energy conservation efforts on a facility level and further reinforced Ethan Allen’s environmental, health and safety program.”

In addition, one of the unique side benefits of EFEC is its impact on the local community. “To quote Ethan Allen’s Pine Valley plant manager, EFEC helps companies move stewardship efforts ‘beyond the fence line,’” Perdue adds.

In employee interviews conducted as part of the EFEC audit, many Ethan Allen workers reported initiating environmental stewardship efforts at home and elsewhere in their community as a result of what they learned during the EFEC implementation process. For example, at the company’s upholstery manufacturing complex in Maiden, N.C., approximately 180 eighth grade students toured the facility and learned about recycling and the EFEC program.

In June, Ethan Allen received an Environmental Merit Award from the New England Office of the Environmental Protection Agency. The award recognized Ethan Allen’s 95 percent reduction in air pollutant emissions over the last 10 years, as well as it’s commitment to using more eco-friendly chemicals in finishes. Both the Orleans and Beecher Falls plants won the Vermont Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence and Pollution Prevention in 2008 and, because of EFEC, both have reapplied for the award this year.

Altogether, the EFEC environmental program has been implemented at 73 different U.S. facilities, including manufacturing plants, warehouses and corporate headquarters buildings, in 12 states and Mexico.

About AHFA: 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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