The European Furniture Industries Confederation (EFIC) is the voice of the Furniture Industries at EU level. In the EU, the industry employs about 1 million people in approximately 120 thousand enterprises – mostly SMEs and microenterprises – and generates a 96 billion turnover. EFIC was founded in 2006 and now represents more than the 70% of the total turnover of the furniture industries in Europe. Find out more on the EFIC website & discover EFIC priorities.
The position paper presents several recommendations to policymakers, which include the need for the EU to take a holistic approach, to adopt harmonised legislation at EU level and consult standardisation bodies and the industry. The position paper also invites policymakers to consider the complexity of the furniture value and supply chains and of the product itself. Companies should also be allowed to adapt to the upcoming legislation with flexibility and within a reasonable transition period.
Background information:To help reach the Green Deal objectives of a more circular economy, the European Commission is developing a Sustainable Products Initiative, which is expected by the end of 2021 (proposal for a Directive, which after approval by the European Parliament and Council (Member States) will have to be transposed into national legislation). EFIC issued this position paper to accompany the inputs to the public consultation that the European Commission opened to gather stakeholders' views on this process.
The sustainable products initiative aims at widening the scope of the Ecodesign Directive to cover non-energy related products and to adopt complementary rules (either horizontal or product specific) on overarching sustainability principles, the introduction of a product passport, making producers intervene before the product becomes waste, minimum green public procurement criteria, tracking of hazardous substances, etc.
The EFIC position paper was published also on LinkedIn and Twitter. Do not hesitate to share it further.
EFIC contribution to notified draft decree on market-specific packaging rules in Portugal
With this contribution, EFIC encouraged the European Commission to intervene presenting comments in response to this notification and inviting Portugal to work towards a European approach as opposed to national rules which risk to bring barriers to the Single Market.
EFIC co-signed industry call for an EU approach to packaging waste labelling
On 24 June EFIC co-signed a joint industry call for an EU approach to packaging waste labelling together with Europen - the European Organization for Packaging and the Environment - and other organisations included in the Packaging Chain Forum. The joint initiative calls on the Commission for an EU approach to packaging waste labelling.
Slovenian Woodworking Day - 9 June 2021
On the occasion of the Slovenian Woodworking Day, held on 9 June, EFIC was invited by the Wood Industry Cluster (Lesarski Grozd) to give a presentation on "Key challenges for the European furniture sector, circular economy and sustainable products initiative". EFIC presented the key circular economy initiatives that will impact the furniture sector in the coming years.
EFIC joint statement on COVID-19 and European furniture sector
In case you missed it, on 23 April EFIC issued a joint statement with the European Bedding Industries Association (EBIA), the European Federation of Office Furniture (FEMB) and the European Federation for Furniture Retailers (FENA) addressed to the EU institutions mainly, but also Member States authorities.
With this joint statement, the European furniture sector expresses concerns over an unharmonised response across the EU to the coronavirus pandemic, which is bringing uncertainty and difficulties. The furniture and bedding industries are also faced with reduced availability of raw materials, a considerable increase of raw material prices, as well as bottlenecks over logistics.
The Alliance for Flame Retardant Free Furniture:
Regulations & flammability requirements
The Alliance for Flame Retardant Free Furniture gathers stakeholders ranging from industry to environmental and health NGOs, cancer organisations, fire fighters and labour unions.
On 27 May, the Alliance welcomed its newest member, the European Federation of Furniture Retailers (FENA). FENA shares the Alliance interest in avoiding toxic flame retardants in furniture products. You can find it on Twitter and LinkedIn.
The Alliance, of which EFIC is part of and coordinates, shares concerns about the implications from the presence of unwanted flame retardants chemicals in furniture products, and believes that more effective and less harmful ways to achieve fire safety exist and need to be evaluated. The Alliance advocates for combining fire safety, chemical safety and circularity objectives, as well as for harmonisation of flammability requirements to a level that toxic flame retardants are not needed for compliance.
EFIC follows and gets engaged in developments concerning furniture flammability requirements both within Europe and beyond. For example, EFIC has been following the revision of the UK 1988 Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations, as well as the revision of the Irish Furniture Fire Regulations. EFIC advocates for the introduction of a smoulder ignition test instead of open flame tests.
EFIC has also followed positive developments in the US, such as the 2020 Covid-19 Regulatory Relief and Work from Home Safety Act, which requires nationwide compliance with the California TBT 117-2013 standard, a smoulder test (see post below), or the recent Bill (S4630B/A5418B) passed by the New York State Legislature prohibiting the sale of upholstered furniture or mattresses containing flame retardant chemicals.
Alliance position paper on the US law mandating nationwide compliance with California's flammability standard for furniture
Background: EFIC is a Social Partner at EU level in the sectoral Social Dialogue for the Furniture and Woodworking industries.
SAWYER final report available in 10 languages
The Sawyer project analyses the main legislative instruments that can facilitate the transition of the furniture industries to the circular economy and how the transition will impact jobs and tasks and health and safety aspects in the furniture sector by 2030. EFIC has been a partner in the project.
The SAWYER final report contains a detailed description of the forecasted impact of the Twin Transition on the furniture sector and on its core occupational profiles. It is now available in English, Spanish, Italian, German, French, Polish, Romanian, Bulgarian, Czech and Swedish.
In case you missed it, watch the final Conference of the project, which took place in March this year.
EFIC part of Expert Groups at EU level
Apart from being a social partner at EU level, EFIC is also part of several expert groups and advisory committees at European level. For example, EFIC attends once a month the Market Access Advisory Committee meeting of the European Commission’s Directorate General for Trade, which tracks (also via stakeholder input) and puts in place measures to tackle market access barriers. EFIC is also part of the Forest-based industries expert group of the European Commission, which meets once or twice a month to discuss topics close to these industries, such as the EU forest strategy, the Sustainable Products Initiative, the Renovation Wave, the New European Bauhaus, among others.
In case you missed it, see the Forest-Based Industries Vision 2050, the contribution of the Forest-based industries (F-BI) to a climate neutral, Clean Planet for All by 2050, aiming at becoming the most competitive and sustainable provider of net-zero carbon solutions. Executive summary here.
Ongoing & upcoming initiatives that EFIC is following
COVID-19 responses at EU level
Green Deal & Circular Economy initiatives: Initiatives related to forest-based industries, Sustainable Products Initiative, upcoming initiatives on empowering consumers to the green transition and to substantiate green claims, EU Ecolabel revision, and many others from the broad sustainability agenda of the EU institutions; Member State initiatives on circular economy (e.g. French legislation of 10 February 2020, proposals concerning waste sorting and packaging)…
Social Dialogue (Pact for Skills, European Pillar of Social Rights, Health and Safety framework for 2021-2027, etc.)
Trade & Market Access (EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement and negotiations of relevant free trade agreements (Australia, New Zealand, others), market access barriers by third countries, etc.)
Other (proposal for Machinery Regulation, New European Bauhaus Initiative, ECHA restriction on formaldehyde and formaldehyde releasing substances in articles, Energy labelling and Ecodesign requirements for light sources and separate control gears, etc.)
Due to the current emergency situation resulting from COVID-19 most of the physical events in Brussels and in other European cities have been postponed/cancelled.