The Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association (KCMA) has strengthened and clarified requirements for companies that currently have or are looking to become certified under the association's Environmental Stewardship Program (ESP).

The new measures, decided at KCMA's November meeting and announced today, mandate the use of California Air Resources Board (CARB) Airborne Toxic Control Measures (ATCM)-compliant low-formaldehyde emitting particleboard, hardwood plywood, and MDF panel.

The rules now include extra rewards to companies that use sustainable forestry-certified solid wood and plywood as well as companies that offer a chain-of-custody sustainable forestry certification on at least one line of products. ESP also upped the number of points awarded to manufacturers who use hardwood and softwood plywood.

These new measures become effective Jan. 1. Currently there are more than 140 companies that are ESP-certified, KCMA said.

KCMA’s Environmental Stewardship Program encourages companies to use low-formaldehyde emitting materials, practice environmentally safe manufacturing processes, and source raw materials in an environmentally sensitive manner. Certified manufacturers must earn points in each of five categories: air quality, product resource management, process resource management, environmental stewardship, and community relations.

"The KCMA Board of Directors reviews the ESP specifications annually and acts on the recommendations of its ESP Committee.," KCMA executive vice president Dick Titus said. "Third-party verification continues to be a critical part of the program. By re-evaluating these specifications each year, we ensure that ESP maintains its credibility by keeping up with the latest technology, changes in industry standards and new federal/state regulations."

KCMA launched the ESP program in 2006. It is audited each year by an independent third-party environmental auditing organization.

Brendan Rimetz is Associate Editor for ProSales magazine.