Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association updates environmental stewardship program

RESTON, Va. — The Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association has updated its Environmental Stewardship Program (ESP) to include the use of the KCMA Carbon Calculator to calculate and report their net CO2 emissions and requires a company to have at least 10% of electricity sourced from renewable energy.

The cabinet group developed the ESP in 2006 and the standard has been updated several times including the recent 2024 edition. The program requires practices that benefit both the environment and our communities.

KCMA developed the program to help cabinet manufacturers gain ESP certification through a rigorous process that follows the ESP Guidance Document and ESP 01-24 standard. Using a system like other programs such as LEED and NGBS, ESP participants accumulate points through their activities.  A minimum of 70 points are needed for certification and points must be earned in all five chapters of the standard. 

The ESP New Participant Guidebook helps manufacturers seeking ESP certification for the first time by providing example documents to be supplied to KCMA to earn the minimum required points for certification and comply with the two mandatory requirements.

"According to an IBM study, more than half of consumers will pay a premium for sustainable brands or sustainable products. That is why KCMA developed the Environmental Stewardship Program (ESP) to certify if cabinet manufacturers are producing cabinets in an environmentally friendly way," said KCMA CEO Betsy Natz.

"The bottom line is that residential real estate professionals and architects want to source cabinetry from cabinet manufacturers who have completed the ESP certification and are making a positive impact on our environment. The recently updated ESP standard is providing customers with quality products and helping us build a brighter greener future for generations to come," she added.

Some of the rigorous ESP requirements include:

  • Air Quality & Pollution Prevention, where the manufacturer has a documented energy conservation program, has met or exceeded source reduction and waste management goals in section 8 of the Toxic Release Inventory Form R or has listed source reduction activities in section 8.10.1 of Form R, sources renewable energy, and calculates CO2 emissions;
  • Waste Minimization, where the manufacturer has a comprehensive recycling program for waste, the non-recyclable waste produced is used for generating energy or steam, waste products are tracked and reduced with documented goals and reports and a program for reclaiming any cabinets and either sending them for recycling, reuse, or re-purpose is in place;
  • Resource Sustainability, with the certification participant maintaining that 80% of particleboard and medium density fiberboard and plywood used in cabinets are either CPA ECC or Benchmark CWSS certified, hardwood, softwood, and plywood purchased are Chain-of-Custody certified through a recognized sustainable forestry program, a wood trade compliance policy is in place, and an annual, written training plan to educate their hardwood suppliers of their preference for purchasing certified lumber;
  • Environmental Stewardship, where the manufacturer has an environmental management system in place, they review practices and policies of key vendors, a program for using renewable/recyclable materials;
  • Community Relations, the manufacturer is involved in the community with charitable donations and highlights environmental initiatives on their website and promotional materials.

To learn more go to's ESP certification page.


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Larry Adams | Editor

Larry Adams is a Chicago-based writer and editor who writes about how things get done. A former wire service and community newspaper reporter, Larry is an award-winning writer with more than three decades of experience. In addition to writing about woodworking, he has covered science, metrology, metalworking, industrial design, quality control, imaging, Swiss and micromanufacturing . He was previously a Tabbie Award winner for his coverage of nano-based coatings technology for the automotive industry. Larry volunteers for the historic preservation group, the Kalo Foundation/Ianelli Studios, and the science-based group, Chicago Council on Science and Technology (C2ST).