|The American Home Furnishings Alliance is pleased to present Enhancing Furniture's Environmental Culture (EFEC). EFEC is the environmental management program developed by AHFA to help its members create and maintain a strong, proactive environmental program that makes them industry leaders.||
|In the end, EFEC
makes good business sense. EFEC provides you with an understanding
of the environmental impacts of the manufacturing process, raw materials, finished
product, and overall inputs and outputs. Through understanding these
impacts, they can be managed to improve the company's overall performance
through cost savings, increased production efficiencies, and other
The regulatory community will look positively toward companies that implement EFEC. Proactive companies are viewed as managed and much less likely to violate environmental regulations. Regulators are beginning to provide incentives for industry to implement proactive environmental programs like EFEC. These incentives include faster permitting, flexible reporting requirements, less frequent inspections, technical assistance, consolidation of permits, permit flexibility, and other incentives.
|improved environmental performance|
|enhances company's image as environmental leader|
|raises environmental awareness among company executives|
|improved regulatory compliance and relationships|
|improved operational performance and efficiency|
|ability to better track environmental costs|
|financial savings from managing resources and raw materials|
|lower insurance and borrowing costs|
|increased shareholder value|
|better image in community|
|green branding opportunities|
|heighten customer satisfaction|
|fewer and shorter delays in responding to environmental emergencies|
EFEC was developed in a phased approach. Elements of successful management programs were compiled and, with the help of industry representatives, the program was formed.
|Phase 1 of the project
defined the elements and framework of the program. AHFA began the process
by taking the best components of environmental management programs used by other
industries and adapting them to the furniture industry’s needs. An industry
steering committee selected and refined the final elements. These elements were
presented to an Independent Advisory Board Focus Group.
The objective of the focus group presentation was to gain awareness,
acceptance, and ideas from other industries and regulators.
2 fully defined the program and developed this guidance document.
This includes the registration process and rewards and recognition
program. In addition, a pilot program was conducted to test the program for
quality, ease of use, and required resources.
3 is the implementation of the program. The
program guidance document, workshops, and registrar programs are made available
to the membership via AHFA’s web site.
This guidance document will outline the specific requirements of EFEC and how to meet them in order to obtain EFEC registration from AHFA. In short, EFEC requires that you implement the following at your facility:
develop a written environmental policy signed by a responsible company official
conduct an evaluation of the environmental aspects of your facility
develop written environmental goals
conduct EFEC awareness training for your workers
ensure all emergency and contingency plans are current and in place
develop a communications plan/approach for internal and external audiences
inform suppliers of your program
inform regulators of your program
allow AHFA to share your experiences
measure and monitor your program
develop a corrective action plan for any program deficiences
After implementing EFEC, an AHFA certified auditor (who can be an employee of your company) audits your facility and your registration application is submitted to the EFEC Board of Examiners. This board will provide the final registration that will be valid for three years.
The EFEC Guidance Document has five sections plus appendices. Throughout the sections there will be hyperlinks and text boxes to show examples and hints to help you set up your program. The sections are listed to the left and are hyper linked to the specific file. The document is meant to walk the user through creating and implementing an EFEC program. In addition, there is a section on the registration process, including becoming an AHFA EFEC certified auditor. Useful tools are included in the Appendices to help you implement your program. This document is not intended to provide legal advice. Please contact the appropriate regulatory agency to determine the current status of programs and regulations.
Hard copies of each section can be printed out using the print command (make sure you select the print option on your browser that restricts printing to the selected frame). In addition, some materials are available for download. These materials include tools and forms that will be helpful as you implement EFEC.
of the objectives of EFEC is to assist companies that wish to pursue ISO14001
certification. EFEC can serve as a foundation for any company who wishes to take their program to
this level. EFEC has been tailored to the furniture industry and will
provide benefits similar to ISO14001 while implementing a more manageable
ISO14000 is a series of
voluntary environmental standards developed by the International Organization of
Standardization. The standards in ISO14000 address a broad range of environmental
disciplines including EMS, auditing, performance evaluation, product labeling,
life cycle assessment, and product standards. ISO14001 is the standard for EMS.
More ISO14000 Information:
has gained acceptance both nationally and internationally. It has become a
standard for companies that believe in continual improvement of their
environmental program. Many foreign owned companies now require their American
subsidiaries to adopt ISO14001 standards. In addition, some large companies (Ford, Honda, IBM) have
adopted ISO14001 and are requiring their suppliers to also adopt the program.
Both EFEC and ISO14001 are voluntary programs. The basic components of ISO14001 are similar to EFEC. The primary difference between the two systems is the reporting and documentation requirements, where ISO requires much more detail and documentation than EFEC. A more comprehensive comparison between the two systems can by found at EFEC vs. ISO - Tale of the Tape.