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ASSMANN takes sustainability to a new level

Office furniture manufacturer from Melle completes FEMB LEVEL Certification with flying colours

It is the continuation of a sustained success story. ASSMANN Büromöbel GmbH & Co. KG has completed LEVEL 3 of the European Level Certification with flying colours. The certificate is based on the FEMB sustainability standard. The evaluation not only includes the material selection of products and the facility that produced them, but also a company’s social conduct, respective energy consumption and potential effects of the chemical components used on the natural environment and people. Following a detailed examination of all the relevant sustainability aspects, TÜV Rheinland awarded ASSMANN the product certificate with the highest European certification level.

“The Blue Angel is certainly the most well-known environmental and sustainability award. However, the FEMB standard with its LEVEL classification goes far beyond this and is therefore the most important certification for our products. Being awarded LEVEL 3 confirms our continued excellent work and the company’s consistent sustainability strategy,” says ASSMANN’s Sustainability Officer, Martin Könneker. The entire certification process is undertaken by independent testing institutes accredited in accordance with the ISO 17065 sustainability standard. It is based on a three-tier testing system that evaluates products, production sites and corporate values. In order to be LEVEL-certified, a company must meet certain minimum standards in four areas: materials, energy and atmosphere, human and ecosystem health and social responsibility, and provide the necessary evidence that is a basic prerequisite for receiving a certificate. In addition to these minimum standards, points can also be picked up in areas that are relevant for determining the LEVEL achieved. Points are awarded in the product, production facility and organisation categories. To achieve the various LEVELS, a minimum number of points is required in the product category, in addition to the total points score. Depending on the number of points awarded in the four defined impact areas, the products, along with the organisation, are classified into one of the three certification levels, from LEVEL 1 to the highest achievable LEVEL 3.

Level certificate stands for the highest sustainability standards

The Blue Angel is already prominently displayed on lots of office furniture produced in Melle. The testing criteria that have to be met to achieve this are usually even higher than the legal requirements. “If a product carries the Blue Angel label, it means that it is particularly low-emission, for example,” says Könneker. “And the standards that have to be met to achieve the FEMB Certificate LEVEL are even higher than the Blue Angel certification requirements.” The European Office Furniture Federation (FEMB) developed the first European certificate for sustainable office furniture in 2018 based on the US BIFMA LEVEL certification. It focuses on the overall sustainability performance when using materials in production. Criteria include avoiding hazardous chemicals, processing wood from sustainable forestry and overall energy use in the process chain.

Production facilities are also evaluated by thoroughly examining the proportion of renewable energies and the quality of the waste management concept, for example. The FEMB Certificate also evaluates a company’s overall sustainability performance with regard to social and societal aspects. This also involves the company evaluating, making demands upon and monitoring its suppliers with regard to sustainable working conditions and respect of human rights, for example.

ASSMANN was one of the first companies in Europe to achieve FEMB LEVEL 2 for above-average sustainability performance following the introduction of the certificate. The office furniture manufacturer has now taken its sustainability activities to the highest achievable LEVEL.