The Composite Panel Association (CPA) is proud to announce the expansion of its new voluntary certification program under the Eco‐Certified Composite (ECC) Sustainability Standard.
The ECC Certification Program, launched by CPA earlier this year for North American panel producers, now provides a powerful new tool for manufacturers of finished products (including components and laminated panels) to communicate the environmental advantages of composite panel products.
Approximately 80% of North American composite panel production is already ECC compliant, an outstanding achievement in the program’s first year and evidence that panels marked with the ECC certification logo are now widely available throughout North America.
“North American composite panel producers have quickly embraced the rigorous new ECC Sustainability Standard for their production,” said Tom Julia, CPA President. “CPA is pleased to offer ECC certification to the rest of the value chain now as a verifiable way of showcasing products with a low carbon footprint, low emissions, and a great life cycle story,” he added. The underlying ECC Sustainability Standard is the basis of the ECC Certification Program, and is the first such comprehensive standard for industry products in the world.
With today’s announcement, CPA moves into the second phase of ECC certification to bring it closer to the end consumer. The composite panel industry has a compelling story to tell about the advantages of using sustainable wood and agri‐based fiber, and CPA’s ECC Standard and its associated certification programs provide evidence of that story. ECC certification speaks directly to the market expectation of environmental responsibility, scientific validity, and promotion of natural, renewable, carbon neutral materials.
Like all CPA certification programs, the ECC Certification Program is stringent, credible,
state‐of‐the‐art, and predicated on regular, ongoing third party audits of client manufacturing plants and facilities. CPA’s certification programs are also accredited by the American National
Standards Institute (ANSI), documenting CPA as an independent third party certification agency.
CPA expects many fabricators and laminators to seek ECC certification this year, including Sauder Woodworking. “Sauder is committed to ECC certification for all our domestic furniture production as further demonstration of our dedication to sustainable, green products for the American consumer,” said Kevin Sauder, President/CEO. “The ECC logo signifies certification to the toughest new environmental standard for renewable, recycled and carbon‐neutral wood products, and we’re convinced this will have a positive impact on our environment.”
The following is an overview of the newest ECC certification program and the steps necessary for a facility to demonstrate compliance with the ECC Standard.
REQUIREMENTS FOR MANUFACTURERS OF FINISHED PRODUCTS (INCLUDING COMPONENTS AND LAMINATED PANELS)
Only manufacturers that demonstrate conformance to both requirements below may carry the ECC certified logo and/or other identifying mark on their qualifying products.
Finished products (including components and laminated panels) shall contain at least 50%
ECC‐compliant composite panels from ECC‐certified plants, as measured by total volume or weight. This total shall account for all materials including but not limited to laminates, fasteners, hinges, solid lumber and wet finishes. Packaging materials are not included in this total. Evidence of compliance shall be provided by means of a written material list for each individual item that is finished and ready for sale, and that carries the ECC‐certified logo and/or other identifying mark. Composite panels are defined as particleboard, medium density fiberboard (MDF), hardboard, engineered wood siding and engineered wood trim;
Of the total particleboard, MDF, hardboard, engineered wood siding and engineered wood trim contained in the finished products (including components or laminated panels), a minimum of 95% of those composite panels, by volume, shall be ECC‐compliant. Evidence of compliance shall be provided by means of an internal tracking system for each individual item that is ready for sale and that carries the ECC‐certified logo and/or other identifying mark. The tracking system shall account for the amount of ECC‐compliant panels used for each production run of an individual item, but does not need to account for the quantity of ECC‐compliant panels in a single piece of an individual item. This tracking is not required if the manufacturer demonstrates that it purchases 100% ECC‐compliant panels.
PARTICIPANT CATEGORIES AND ELIGIBILITY
The following manufacturer groups are eligible for ECC certification for finished products (including components and laminated panels):
1. ECC Fabricator: Purchases laminated or un‐laminated ECC‐compliant panels originating from ECC certified plants to process into finished products or components. A fabricating facility is defined as an operation that utilizes ECC‐compliant panels, within the Program guidelines, to produce finished products (including components and laminated panels).
2. ECC Laminator: Laminates ECC‐compliant panels. A laminating facility/line is defined as an operation that affixes a wood veneer, synthetic overlay (including paper and paper‐based laminates), powder coating or wet finish to an ECC‐compliant panel.
3. ECC Composite Panel Manufacturer with Co‐Located Laminating Line: Converts ECC‐compliant panels into laminated panels. The laminating line must operate within the same corporate family as the ECC‐certified panel producer. A co‐located laminating facility is defined as onsite or within a radius of 10 miles (16 km) from the ECC‐certified manufacturing plant.
1. Distributors, Cut‐to‐Size, Wholesale and Re‐Bundling Operations: Distributors, cut‐to‐size, wholesale and re‐bundling operations are not eligible for ECC certification at this time. These business groups play an important role in “passing through” ECC certification commercial documents, such as an invoice or bill of lading, similar to the chain of custody pass‐through provisions of the CARB regulation referenced in this ECCS.
An audit of the ECC‐certified facility is required every calendar year, including an onsite audit during the first 12 months of certification followed by alternating desk and onsite audits.
ECC client fees are invoiced on a calendar year basis except that fees will be pro‐rated on a quarterly basis if a facility qualifies for ECC certification after the first quarter of the year.
1. ECC Laminator/Fabricator: Annual fees, in US dollars, include general administration and an annual audit for one facility, as follows:
Tier 1: $750 (annual corporate gross sales up to $5 million)
Tier 2: $1,500 (annual corporate gross sales $5–$50 million)
Tier 3: $3,000 (annual corporate gross sales $50–$100 million)
Tier 4: $6,000 (annual corporate gross sales over $100 million)
Each additional manufacturing facility will be assessed $750 per location, except that Tier 4 companies with multiple locations will be assessed $250 per each additional facility above three.
2. ECC Composite Panel Manufacturer with Co‐Located Laminating Line: The annual fee for a co-located facility is $250 USD, which is in addition to the ECC certification fee for composite panel manufacturers. If not co‐located as defined under Program Eligibility, each additional facility will be assessed $750 annually.
ECC’S PREDECESSOR – THE EPP PROGRAM
CPA’s longstanding Environmentally Preferable Product (EPP) Certification Program for panel producers concluded earlier this year, and its EPP Downstream Program will be sunset on December 31, 2012. Both are replaced by the ECC Certification Program. After December 31, 2012, no new production may be labeled with the EPP Downstream logo, but products already qualified and labeled as EPP Downstream may pass through distribution and retail channels without limitation.
MORE INFORMATION AND HOW TO APPLY
A brochure and information sheet describing the benefits and requirements of the ECC Program are enclosed. Further information including the complete ECC Standard and application form may be downloaded at www.ECCproduct.org, along with a current list of ECC‐certified panel manufacturing plants.
Facilities interested in participating in the ECC Certification Program should submit a completed application form and license agreement to CPA.
Questions about the ECC Standard or Certification Program should be directed to:
Chris Surak, Director of Certification Services
Gary Heroux, Vice President, Product Acceptance
Source: Composite Panel Association
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