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AHFA Announces Environmental Award

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The American Home Furnishings Alliance has created the Sage Award to recognize excellence in the home furnishings industry through sustainable business practices, social responsibility and profitable growth. To be sponsored by Cargill’s BiOH™ polyols, the Sage Award will honor its first recipient at AHFA’s Sustainability Summit on Nov. 13, 2008, in Greensboro, N.C. “A sage is someone who is widely respected for wisdom, experience and judgment. Our award is intended to seek out, discover and recognize true industry innovators from whom all of us can learn,” states AHFA CEO Andy Counts. “We are gratified that Cargill’s BiOH polyols business has agreed to sponsor this award.” Counts notes that Cargill’s BiOH polyols also will sponsor AHFA’s two-day Sustainability Summit in November. The Sage Award will recognize a manufacturer or designer of finished home furnishings products or a retailer in the home furnishings industry. Nominees must demonstrate leadership in reducing the industry’s environmental footprint and expanding its positive social impact while running a profitable business. Nominations for the 2008 Award may be submitted beginning June 1. The deadline for entries will be Sept. 5. An independent panel of judges from throughout the home furnishings industry, as well as from environmental and social organizations, will conduct a blind evaluation of each entry. Company names will be removed from all applications and will not be shared with the judges at any time during the judging process. Applicants need not be AHFA members nor users of Cargill’s BiOH polyols to enter. “Cargill and AHFA share a belief that environmental excellence is an ongoing journey requiring flexibility, insight and constant learning,” says Yusuf Wazirzada, business manager for Cargill’s BiOH polyols product line. “This award will honor businesses that demonstrate a passion for and a sustained commitment to that journey.” Criteria for the Sage Award include: Sustainable Business Practices. The nominee’s organizational policies and procedures related to environmental stewardship will be assessed. Environmental impact programs and initiatives will be taken into account, including reducing energy usage, water consumption, and waste; responsible raw materials sourcing; recycling efforts; and employee education. Additional considerations will include product design and merchandising that promotes sustainability or extends product lifecycle; shipping, manufacturing and warehousing operations that reduce use of non-renewable energy in transportation; and support of organizations focused on addressing environmental challenges. Social Practices. The applicant’s leadership in supporting community involvement and social equity will be taken into account. Items considered might include supplier management practices or codes of conduct and recognition or reward of employee and supplier social stewardship efforts. Profitable Growth. Applicants must demonstrate how their sustainable business practices have translated into business growth and success. Entry forms, entry requirements and complete application instructions will be available at www.ahfa.us and at www.bioh.com beginning June 1. Cargill is an international provider of food, agricultural and risk management products and services. Its BiOH brand polyols were the first commercially successful bio-based industrial polyols used in flexible foams. Derived from natural vegetable oils such as soybean oil, BiOH polyols help flexible polyurethane manufacturers reduce their environmental footprint and market their choice to downstream customers. AHFA represents more than 400 leading manufacturers and suppliers in the home furnishings industry. Among the programs designed to promote the growth and global leadership of its member companies is Sustainable by Design, a certification program that provides a roadmap for home furnishings companies to create a corporate culture of conservation and environmental stewardship by implementing sustainable business practices.

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