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Certifications and standards

Sustainable furniture options promote healthy living as well as encourage the reduction of waste and damage to the environment. The following certifications and standards can help guide sustainable procurement options:

The Cradle to Cradle certification measures products against five sustainability performance categories, including material health, product circularity, social fairness, water and social stewardship, and clean air and climate protection.

CRI launched the Green Label Plus program for carpet, adhesives, and cushions. These enhanced programs set higher standards for indoor air quality (IAQ) and ensure that customers are purchasing the lowest-emitting products available on the market.

Launched by BIFMA, the LEVEL certification program provides transparency on furniture products that are environmentally and socially responsible, including their manufacturing facilities and parent company, with three performance tiers.

Things to consider

Before making a purchasing decision, consider these guiding principles of sustainable procurement:

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Buy credibly certified products

  • Make sure to request options that are third-party certified such as Cradle to Cradle, Green Label Plus, and LEVEL.
  • Is the product/service Fairtrade certified? This should be explicitly stated.
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Buy circular

  • How long is the product and its components meant to last?
  • Does the product contain recycled components or materials? Have efforts been made to limit excess packaging and resulting waste? Does the product and/or packaging contain reusable/replaceable parts? 
  • Does the vendor offer an end-of-life takeback program? If no, can the product and/or packaging be disposed of through existing campus waste programs? Refer to the Shift:Zero Sorting Guide if unsure.
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Minimize unnecessary purchases

  • Check with Central Stores to see if they have the products you’re looking for. They also offer moving services.
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Consider lifecycle costs

  • Is the item durable and/or reconfigurable? Sustainable furniture purchases can ideally be repaired and/or restored.