AHFA announces labeling program

The American Home Furnishings Alliance has created a new furniture labeling program designed to help manufacturers communicate a product's safety, health and environmental features to consumers.

Called Eco3Home, the program is anchored by a consumer website, www.eco3home.com, where shoppers will be able to research the attributes of a particular piece of furniture in detail. The site was launched Oct. 18, although many informational features are still under development.

"Consumer research conducted prior to the development of Eco3Home was designed to determine what consumers expect from 'eco-friendly' furniture," explains AHFA CEO Andy Counts. "We discovered that consumers tend to express the strongest interest in environmental attributes that impact their personal health and safety or their family's health and safety."

For example, emitting no harmful chemicals was identified more frequently than using sustainably harvested wood. This finding was consistent among both "greener" consumers (those already buying eco-friendly products for their homes) as well as the general population of furniture shoppers. The top furniture construction feature named by both groups was "recycled components."

"These findings did not change AHFA's commitment to promoting sustainable practices among participating companies in their sourcing, manufacturing and overall operations," Counts says. "But the findings did change the way we ultimately decided to communicate."