HIGH POINT, N.C. – The American Home Furnishings Alliance presented its 2011 environmental leadership awards last month at the 2012 Sustainability Summit in Raleigh, N.C.

The awards recognize both individuals and companies that have shared their expertise and time to help develop solutions to complex environmental and safety challenges within the home furnishings industry.

“AHFA presents these awards, because we know we could not effectively advocate for our industry if we didn’t have individuals to provide ‘the face’ of home furnishings manufacturing to legislators and regulators,” states AHFA CEO Andy Counts.

AHFA Recognizes Environmental & Safety LeadersThe Environmental Leadership Award is presented annually to an individual and is based on environmental knowledge, overall environmental background and contribution to AHFA’s environmental programs and regulatory initiatives. The recipients are chosen by members of the ACE committee (Action Committee on the Environment) along with AHFA staff. The 2011 recipients are Barry Branscome, vice president/ director of engineering and environmental compliance at Vaughan-Bassett, and Mike Zimmerman, innovation and sustainability scientist for Sauder Woodworking.

AHFA Recognizes Environmental & Safety LeadersIn presenting the awards, AHFA Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Bill Perdue thanked Branscome and Zimmerman for their dedication to both the AHFA and the industry, as well as to their respective companies. Both joined Perdue on trips to Washington, D.C., in 2011 to educate legislators and regulators about the compliance challenges presented by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), formaldehyde emissions standards, the Environmental Protection Agency’s boiler rule and other environmental and safety regulations. In addition, Branscome serves on the Board of Examiners for AHFA’s environmental management programs, EFEC and Sustainable by Design.

Century Furniture received AHFA’s Environmental Excellence Award, an honor reserved for a company that demonstrates exemplary environmental management and an ongoing commitment to environmental stewardship. Like the individual leadership award, the corporate leadership award is selected by the ACE committee and AHFA staff. Perdue commended Century for continually raising the bar in its environmental management efforts. All three of Century’s domestic manufacturing facilities were registered in the EFEC environmental management program in 2009, and the company completed Sustainable by Design registration in 2010, thereby extending sustainable practices throughout its supply chain. The company’s vice president of global logistics, Roger Jones, participated on a committee that helped develop and review AHFA’s new Responsible Sourcing Manual.

AHFA Recognizes Environmental & Safety LeadersBarbara Nuckles, director of regulatory affairs for Ashley Furniture, received the 2011 Product Safety Leadership Award, a new recognition for individuals or companies that have taken a leadership role on product safety issues. From bunk bed safety to furniture tip-over to testing for lead and formaldehyde, safety and health issues require vast amounts of research and testing to ensure regulations are effective. The fast pace of proposed new standards and revisions to existing standards in today’s regulatory environment makes member company involvement critical. Perdue cited Nuckles for work “above and beyond the normal call of duty,” including participation in face-to-face meetings with EPA, CPSC and CARB staff.

Finally, AHFA recognized Assured Products Group as its environmental Supplier of the Year. The company supported the 2012 Sustainability Summit as a sponsor and exhibitor. In addition, CEO Jim Chester was a frequent webinar presenter in 2011, lending his expertise to AHFA and its member companies in efforts to meet the complicated challenges of environmental and product safety compliance. In July, AHFA announced a strategic partnership with APG on an industry-specific “compliance advisor” software program that helps companies maintain accurate and up-to-date documentation for chain of custody, general conformance certificates, Lacey Act compliance and more.

Source: American Home Furnishings Alliance

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