This impact area addresses material and natural resource considerations such as the product design process, the impact of specific materials, the efficient use of materials, recycled content, water and waste management, packaging, and product life cycle impacts.
This impact area addresses energy and atmospheric considerations such as the establishment of an energy policy, energy and greenhouse gas audits, the reduction of energy impacts, the use and generation of renewable energy, product-embodied energy, and greenhouse gas reporting.
This impact area addresses the ways that human and natural ecosystem health is affected by the chemical constituents used in furniture products, the production processes, and the operations and maintenance of facilities.
This impact area addresses management practices that are designed to detect, respond to and avoid threats to employee and community health and safety. Among the criteria for certification are inclusiveness, good corporate citizenship, community engagement, and the incorporation of these practices into the supply chain.
LEVEL takes a global approach and covers the European requirements for Green Public Procurement and Circular Economy concepts.
LEVEL has three thresholds of certification. Products can be awarded a LEVEL 1, LEVEL 2 or LEVEL 3 conformance mark based on the combined score they achieve in their sustainability evaluation. Currently the highest achievable rank is LEVEL 3.
The basis of LEVEL certification
LEVEL is the multi-attribute sustainability standard and third-party certification programme for the furniture industry. Certification is awarded for fulfilment of the FEMB sustainability requirements for office and non-domestic furniture for indoor use. This programme has been developed by FEMB, the European Office Furniture Federation, using as a basis the American standard ANSI/BIFMA e3 together with the European criteria for Green Public Procurement and the specifications for the awarding of several voluntary ecolabels.
For further information, see certifying a product.
The EU Action Plan for the Circular Economy was adopted in 2015. Many criteria from the EU Action Plan have been included in the requirements for EU GPP (version 2017), which is almost completely congruent with the FEMB sustainability standard for office and facility furniture. From the very start, this compatibility was one of the main reasons for developing the FEMB sustainability standard. Also in 2015, the decision was made to adopt updated requirements for EMAS. Both EMAS and the EU Ecolabel are referred to in connection with several criteria in the FEMB sustainability standard.
In the LEVEL certification process, not only the product but also the facility or facilities that produced it, as well as the organisation of the facility itself, are all scored according to the sustainability criteria in the four impact areas Materials, Energy & Atmosphere, Human & Ecosystem Health, and Social Responsibility. For futher information see Certifying a product.
The LEVEL certification programme has been created in order to provide an accredited and holistic means of evaluating and communicating the environmental and social impacts of furniture products in the built environment. From the very beginning, the goal was to create a system of sustainability certification that covers all the relevant aspects of sustainability: the products themselves, all of the facilities where the products and their components are manufactured and the organisational behaviour.
The general assessment process and many of the requirements are the same as those of the BIFMA level certificate, though the structure is a bit different from the latest BIFMA version. There is some different content as well, for example in the FEMB material section. The European LEVEL programme has a global approach and takes European conditions into account.