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Simplifying Sustainability Standards with BIFMA's Steve Kooy

May 20, 2024
BIFMA's level certification for furniture provides much-needed clarity in a sea of sustainability standards and certifications.

In this episode of the "I Hear Design" podcast, host Robert Nieminen discusses the topic of specifying sustainable and healthy furniture, focusing on understanding various sustainability standards. He is joined by Steve Kooy, technical director for health and sustainability at BIFMA, who provides insights into the development and integration of these standards. Kooy explains the level certification program and its role in simplifying the process of identifying eco-friendly furniture, offering a clearer perspective for designers navigating the complex landscape of sustainability certifications.

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Meet Our Guest

Steve Kooy, director health and sustainability, BIFMA

Steve has more than 15 years of experience as a sustainability professional in the furniture industry. He currently leads BIFMA’s Health and Sustainability programs including the e3/LEVEL sustainability certification program adopted by most commercial furniture manufacturers.

Steve also serves as chair of the board of mindful Materials, a 501c3 non-profit. mindful Materials works with industry leaders including owners, architects, manufacturers, and government, to define sustainable materials, provide a common location for sustainability data, and drive change in the built environment.

Prior to joining BIFMA, Steve worked in sales and business development for Intertek – a third-party auditor, certifier, and test lab. In this role, he worked with global furniture clients to properly test and certify products to electrical, mechanical, and sustainability standards.

Steve served as Haworth’s Global Sustainability/Open Innovation Manager for 10+ years as the built environment’s interest in green building flourished. Highlights at Haworth included: creating and driving well-being initiatives, setting sustainable design criteria for cleaner chemistry and responsible supply chains, and pursuing product certifications.  WELL and LEED experience includes managing or co-managing LEED certification projects in Asia, Europe, and North America as well as piloting the WELL certification in Shanghai and Los Angeles.

He graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor’s in Civil/Environmental Engineering.

About the Author

Robert Nieminen | Chief Content Director

Robert Nieminen is the Chief Content Director of Architectural Products, BUILDINGS and i+s, sister publications of Smart Buildings Technology. He is an award-winning writer with more than 20 years of experience reporting on the architecture and design industry.

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