The European Office Furniture Federation’s Sustainability Certification Programme
What is FEMB level®?
The FEMB “level” certification programme follows the experience gained by BIFMA in North America and proceeds along a similar path to provide a voluntary certification scheme for office furniture manufacturers. FEMB level is a pan-European certification scheme designed to deliver the most open and transparent means of evaluating and communicating the environmental and social impacts of furniture products in the built environment.
As an accredited Conformity Assessment Body (CAB) for European Level (FEMB Level) certification for furniture products with local offices in Europe and around the world, SCS Global Services helps furniture manufacturers meet market requirements and create value through sustainability programs. Using local European auditors and customer service, SCS’ FEMB Level audits take a comprehensive sustainability approach and cover European requirements for Green Public Procurement and Circular Economy concepts.
For manufacturers, conformity to the FEMB standard will facilitate trade across geographic borders providing cost savings and reducing time and resources needed to respond to requests from different national markets. For customers, the FEMB standard and level certification will provide a reliable tool to compare the environmental and social impacts of furniture products coming from any country in Europe.
Why Choose SCS?
As a leading global auditing, certification and standards organization, SCS has been (and continues to be) involved in the development of the FEMB level standard since its inception. As part of our corporate expertise, SCS can offer combined FEMB Level and BIFMA e3 level certification solutions for companies in Europe and around the world.
SCS has demonstrated deep expertise in working with the global furniture industry on sustainability certifications as demonstrated by SCS having certified more furniture manufacturers to BIFMA level and FEMB level than any other CAB. In addition, SCS has local language auditing partners in many European countries and a customer service and response system unparalleled in the industry.
- Program Details
- FEMB Level is the first and only ISO 17065 accredited sustainability standard for furniture, which adds worldwide credibility and acceptance.
- Provides a comprehensive review of European sustainability expectations for furniture and covers requirements for circular economy concepts.
- Provides access to EU Green Public Procurement.
- Facilitates trade across borders and standardizes criteria for furniture sustainability.
Why should we certify under FEMB Level?
FEMB Level covers European GREEN Public Procurement requirements for furniture and the sustainability concepts of the EU Green Deal. A manufacturer of office furniture who wants to successfully sell in Europe can gain access to public purchasing tenders and obtain a competitive advantage through FEMB Level certification. FEMB Level is a pan-European standard and thus accepted throughout the EU.
Can SCS help us get ready for the FEMB Level certification?
As a certification body, we cannot provide help or consulting services toward achievement of FEMB level. However, we can provide contacts to consultants not affiliated with SCS, who are familiar with FEMB level and may be able to help.
How much does FEMB Level certification cost?
The cost of the initial FEMB level certification depends on the scope of the project. Please contact our European office at [email protected] and we will quickly provide you with a proposal. The questions they may ask are: How many product categories shall be certified (e.g. seating, tables, case goods, etc.)? How many manufacturing locations make those products? FEMB Level offers three levels of certification and each comes with increasing audit requirements, which affect the cost. To which level do you aim to certify?
How long does the FEMB Level certification process take?
Generally, the FEMB Level certification process takes between 12 and 16 weeks from project start to finish. Much of the timeline is driven by the client’s level of preparedness and completion of the documentation.
Our documentation will be in our local language. Is that a problem?
While English documentation would be preferred, SCS can work with local language documentation. We use local auditors in many countries and work with translation services. Documents in local language(s) have not been an issue.
What are the maintenance intervals to maintain FEMB Level certification?
A maintenance review for FEMB Level will take place 18 months after the initial certification. This maintenance review no longer requires a site audit, but the achieved credits and all changes to product, supply chain, manufacturing, etc. will be reviewed. Re-certification with a full audit will be necessary 36 months after initial certification.
Are our existing sustainability certifications recognized?
FEMB Level will recognize existing product or manufacturing certifications as long they are based on ISO Standards or EU legislative requirements. All other certifications can be used to meet requirements within FEMB Level, if their criteria match those of FEMB Level. For example, a VOC Emissions Certification is not automatically accepted for FEMB Level Criteria 7.6.2 VOC Emissions from the Finished Product, but the certification can be used to demonstrate compliance to the FEMB Level criteria, if the base criteria are comparable.
Does SCS have local auditors?
SCS works with local auditors in many countries. Please contact your local SCS office to find out, if we have local auditors in your region.
Will FEMB level help with LEED or other green building rating systems?
FEMB Level is currently not recognized for designated points in LEED or other green building rating systems. However, many requirements in FEMB Level directly correspond to criteria in LEED or other green building rating systems such as DGNB, BREEAM, WELL, SKA Rating or others and can be used to demonstrate compliance to those criteria.
Can we combine FEMB Level with other certifications?
SCS can bundle FEMB Level and BIFMA e3 level certifications, as many of the requirements overlap. Additionally, many SCS service offerings, such as SCS Indoor Advantage, SCS Environmental Product Declaration, SCS Recycled Content, SCS Carbon Neutral, as well as ISO 14001 accreditation correspond to requirements in FEMB Level and can be combined. Please contact your local SCS office for more information.
- SCS scopes the project and prepares a proposal.
- Client agrees to scope and signs a work order.
- An SCS account manager is assigned to guide client through the certification process.
- Data Collection
- Client completes Data Request Form, identifying credits to be pursued and submits to auditor along with supporting documentation.
- Once sufficient data is collected, an onsite audit is scheduled.
- Onsite Audit
- The SCS auditor conducts an onsite audit.
- Onsite audit time will be determined based upon the level of certification (i.e. level 1, 2, or 3) and the total number of points requested.
- Corrective Actions
- Client responds to any non-conformities or new information requests.
- The SCS auditor prepares a draft Assessment Report that details the findings of the audit, including nonconformities, and opportunities for improvement.
- Certification Decision
- An SCS reviewer conducts a final review of the draft Assessment Report and makes the certification decision.
- Upon successful certification, client is listed in SCS Green Products Guide, the levelcertified.org website, and is granted the right to use the approved level® logo.
- Certification Maintenance
- The certification period is 3 years.
- A surveillance audit of a sampling of credits and an onsite audit is required in the middle of the certification period (18 months/ 1.5 years)
- A full scale renewal occurs every 3 years.
Products eligible for FEMB level® certification include all office and non-domestic indoor furniture products.
Qualification for level® certification under the FEMB Furniture Sustainability Requirements includes conformance to criteria under four specific categories.
- Energy and Atmosphere
- Human and Ecosystem Health
- Social Responsibility
Points earned under each of these categories determine the level of certification earned:
- level 1. The first tier of certified performance
- level 2. Additional milestones of performance achieved
- level 3. The highest level of performance recognized
Certification to FEMB level® attests that the product, the manufacturing facility, and the company responsible for the product brand, have been evaluated by an accredited third-party certification body against the multi-attribute criteria of the FEMB Sustainability requirements for office and non-domestic furniture for indoor use.
Complementary SCS Services
Bundle multiple services and save! SCS offers many complementary services for even more cost-effective service and reduced audit fatigue. Other certifications that support FEMB level include the following:
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