Wherever you turn these days, you will find products that aim to be “green.” With so many environmental programs out there, it can be difficult to make sense of them all. ESP holds the cabinet industry to higher standards than other environmental programs because of its holistic approach to manufacturing, examining the process from growth and harvesting of raw materials to manufacturing the end product.
ESP certification requirements are based on currently obtainable materials and will be amended as new, improved materials become available. The specifications have been revised four times since the program’s inception in 2006 to add more products and make requirements more restrictive.

Beginning in January 2012, the criteria for certication is strengthened with the following requirements:

  • All particleboard, MDF and hardwood plywood that is manufactured or purchased must be claimed and 100% of each prdouct must comply with the applicable CARB ATCM formaldehyde emission limits.   All such products must be certified by CARB approved third-party certifiers (TPC’s) in order to quality.  The CARB requirements for formaldehyde emissions are the lowest in the world for composite wood products.
  • To protect the forests and insure the future availability of lumber resources, points now may be earned in the Product Resources Management category for the purchase of hardwood plywood and softwood lumber that are harvested from a recognized sustainable certified forest.  This category awards points for the purchase of Certified Sourcing lumber.
  • Manufacturers earn double points for the purchase of lumber and plywood that have chain-of-custody certification verified by by submission of invoices.

In order to be awarded ESP certification, manufacturers must earn points, which are awarded based on compliance with these criteria:

Air Quality

  • Mandatory Requirement 100% of particleboard, medium density fiberboard, and plywood used in the cabinets must meet the formaldehyde emission level of the California Air Resources Compwood ATCM and must be third-party certified to meet low formaldehyde emission standards
  • 75% of cabinets must be finished in the United States or Canada.  Finishes emit no greater hazardous air pollutants than allowed by local plant operating permits

Product Resource Management

  • 80% of particleboard & medium density fiberboard used in cabinets must contain 100% recycled or recovered fiber content
  • Manufacturers earn points if they have kitchen cabinets that are also Chain of Custody (COC) certified through a recognized sustainable forestry program
  • Hardwoods, softwoods and plywood purchased are Chain-of-Custody certified through a recognized sustainable forestry program
  • Hardwood and softwood lumber are Certified Sourcing certified through a recognized sustainable forestry program
  • Manufacturers utilize an annual, written training plan to educate their hardwood suppliers of their preference for purchasing certified lumber

Process Resource Management

  • Manufacturer has a comprehensive recycling program for process wastes
  • Manufacturer has a program for tracking and reducing process wastes with documented goals and reports
  • Manufacturer uses process by-products to generate alternative energy
  • Manufacturer has a documented energy conservation program

Environmental Stewardship

  • Manufacturer is required to have a written policy stating a firm commitment to environmental quality
  • Manufacturer has an Environmental Management System
  • Manufacturer reviews environmental practices and policies of its key vendors and contractors
  • Manufacturer has a documented program that promotes the use of renewable/recycled materials

Community Relations

  • Manufacturer demonstrates community involvement and leadership through service or charitable organizations
  • Manufacturer observes all federal, state, and local environmental requirements

Mandatory Requirement: ESP participant agrees to report to KCMA with 60 days of any local, state or federal citation in excess of $50,000 per violation explaining the circumstances of the citation or violation.  Such citation or violation could lead to termination from the program.

Points are awarded for meeting each of these criteria. Manufacturers must earn at least 80 of a possible 105 points and must earn points from each category to be certified.