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C.R. Laine Is First Manufacturer To Achieve Sustainable by Design Certification

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Custom upholstery manufacturer C.R. Laine of Hickory, N.C., is the first company to achieve Sustainable by Design certification from the American Home Furnishings Alliance (AHFA). “As a family-owned and operated company, we have always been committed to the preservation of the environment and community for future generations,” says CEO and President Sonny Roseman Jr. “Our nine-month journey through the Sustainable by Design certification process provided us with a realistic structure for implementing sustainable business practices into our everyday processes. It has equipped us for a future of continuous environmental improvement.” Among the first steps in C.R. Laine’s certification process was to have its headquarters and manufacturing facility registered under AHFA’s environmental management system, called EFEC for “Enhancing Furniture’s Environmental Culture.” Established by AHFA in 1999, EFEC requires a company to analyze and better understand the environmental impact of its processes, raw materials and finished products on a facility-by-facility basis. As a result of this analysis and subsequent improvements, C.R. Laine has made measurable environmental improvements over the past nine months, including: - Reduced energy consumption by 8 percent - Reduced fresh water consumption by 5 percent - Reduced waste disposal costs by 20 percent through new alliances with local organizations for the recycling and repurposing of fabric, foam, cardboard, metal and wood scraps. “At the heart of EFEC is a corporate culture of conservation and environmental stewardship,” explains Bill Perdue, AHFA vice president. “Sustainable by Design extends that culture throughout a company’s entire supply chain.” To attain Sustainable by Design certification, C.R. Laine was required to conduct a rigorous evaluation of its corporate environmental footprint, as well as its global climate impact. For each key area on a lengthy “checklist,” the company established numerical goals and a system for evaluating annual achievement and establishing new goals. These key areas include: - Energy conservation, water conservation, recycling and solid/hazardous waste minimization - Use of low VOC/low HAP coatings, renewable fuels, certified lumber (minimum of 5 percent), low-emitting UF resins - Greenhouse gas emissions and carbon footprint. “Initially, as we became familiar with the criteria involved with the EFEC and SBD programs, the task seemed overwhelming,” recalls Greg Carpenter, C.R. Laine’s human resources manager and environmental committee chairperson. “However, with the help of AHFA’s guidance documents and staff, the implementation process seemed to fall into place.” In September, C.R. Laine’s documentation of the above systems and measures was audited by the Sustainable by Design Board of Examiners. The company also will be subject to an annual maintenance audit in order to maintain its certification. C.R. Laine will now be able to include the “Sustainable by Design AHFA Certified” logo in its marketing materials. The company also will be promoted on AHFA’s consumer website, www.findyourfurniture.com, in a new section designed to educate consumers about environmentally-friendly companies and products in the home furnishings industry. “We are thrilled to be the first Sustainable by Design AHFA certified company,” states Roseman. “I would like to thank all of the employees at C.R. Laine for their efforts and their support of our decision to implement the SBD program. It was the concentrated efforts of many that resulted in our success.” The American Home Furnishings Alliance – located in High Point, N.C., and Washington, D.C. – is the largest association of home furnishings companies in the world and represents more than 240 leading furniture manufacturers and distributors, plus about 200 suppliers to the furniture industry worldwide.

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