about LEVEL

LEVEL is based on the FEMB Sustainability Standard. Thus LEVEL is the first European certification that covers all relevant aspects of sustainability

LEVEL includes four impact areas: Materials, Energy & Atmosphere, Human & Ecosystem Health, and Social Responsibility.

Materials

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.

  • Wood and wood-based materials
  • Plastic parts
  • Surface coatings
  • Adhesives and glues
  • Textiles, leather and upholstery materials
  • Flame retardants and phthalates
  • Packaging materials
  • Life cycle assessment
  • Efficient use of materials
  • Recycled content
  • Extended product responsibility
  • Product performance
  • Water and solid waste management

Energy & Atmosphere

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.

  • Energy policy
  • Defining energy performance baseline
  • Creating energy performance rating system
  • Providing rating system certification
  • Energy management system
  • Embodied energy
  • Finished product energy consumption
  • Transportation
  • On-site and off-site renewable energy
  • Greenhouse gases

Human & Ecosystem Health

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.

  • Demonstration of compliance
  • Key chemical, risk and EMS policy
  • EMAS, ISO 14001 or equivalent
  • A chemical management plan (CMP) for facilities
  • Effects of product, process and maintenance chemicals
  • Reduction / elimination of chemicals of concern
  • Low-emission furniture

Social Responsibility

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.

  • Employee health and safety management
  • Labour and human rights
  • Social responsibility policy
  • External health and safety management standard
  • Inclusiveness programmes
  • Community outreach
  • Social responsibility reporting
  • Promoting of social responsibility in the supply chain

LEVEL takes a global approach and covers the European requirements for Green Public Procurement and Circular Economy concepts.

Sustainability score

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.

Basis of Level certification

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.

Circular economy and the FEMB sustainability standard

Circular economy and the FEMB sustainability standard

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.

The certification process and requirements

The certification process and requirements

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.

Objectives of the certification programme

Objectives of the certification programme

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. 

Comparison with the BIFMA level certificate

Comparison with the BIFMA level certificate

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.