THE ECC SUSTAINABILITY STANDARD
The Eco-Certified Composite (ECC) Sustainability Standard is the voluntary industry standard developed by the Composite Panel Association (CPA) for manufacturers of composite wood or agrifiber-based panels such as particleboard, medium density fiberboard (MDF), hardboard, engineered wood siding and engineered wood trim. Effective January 1, 2019, mills certified to ECC meet California Air Resources Board (CARB) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) formaldehyde emissions requirements for 100% of their panels 100% of the time. The standard specifies carbon footprint, life-cycle inventory, and other verifiable environmental practices and emphasizes the responsible use of wood fiber by composite panel manufacturers.
COMPOSITE WOOD PANELS—GREEN BY NATURE
The North American composite panel industry optimizes the use of forestry byproducts and residuals — turning this recycled and reclaimed material into high-value products that avoid the landfill and serve as a carbon store. By their very nature, composite wood panels—along with agrifiber-based panels—are among the greenest products available for architectural, construction and consumer products. Architects, designers, retailers and consumers expect verifiable evidence of sustainability, and the ECC Standard and Certification Program delivers that assurance. Only products carrying the ECC-certified logo are produced in a manufacturing plant or facility that is audited and certified by CPA.
ECC CERTIFICATION FOR COMPOSITE PANELS
ECC Certification requires an on-site qualification audit and subsequent annual audits of individual manufacturing facilities. These inspections include review of the plant’s quality control manual, personnel, wood yard, and all relevant records on production and formaldehyde emissions testing.
100%. 100% of the Time. The key criteria for ECC eligibility is a plant’s commitment to meeting the CARB and EPA formaldehyde emissions requirements for 100% of its panels 100% of the time. Any production run that does not meet those emissions levels must be disposed of or retested and certified according to CPA’s procedures. Products that exceed emissions requirements may not be sold in any market with the ECC logo.
Qualified plants must then meet at least three of the following requirements:
Non-wood fiber is defined as a by-product of an agricultural crop where the cellulose is other than woody biomass and may also be considered to meet the requirements above.
Auditing - Mills that earn ECC certification undergo an annual on-site audit to each of the requirements above by qualified third-party assessors. CPA currently has auditors available to certify mills all over North and South America.
CPA has administered the ECC certification program since 2011, with over 40 mills earning certification. ECC audits are conducted according to international standards by experienced wood industry professionals. CPA is accredited as a certification body to ISO/IEC 17065 by ANSI, and as an inspection body to ISO/IEC 17020 by ANAB. CPA also operates the International Testing and Certification Center (ITCC), an ISO/IEC 17025 accredited test lab that is North America’s leading composite panel formaldehyde emissions laboratory.
Administering the ECC program is in keeping with the North American composite panel industry’s ongoing commitment to going above and beyond regulatory requirements to demonstrate the environmental benefits of composite wood products. Look for the ECC-certified logo and/or other identifying mark on packaging, panel unit bundles, commercial documents, or other informational materials when purchasing composite panels. Ask your retailer or contractor about ECC-certified panels when purchasing furniture, cabinets, flooring, and other finished products.
COMPOSITE PANEL ASSOCIATION
The Composite Panel Association (CPA), a nonprofit 501(c)(6) organization founded in 1960, represents the North American composite wood panel and decorative surfaces industries on technical, standards, regulatory, quality assurance and product acceptance matters. CPA is committed to advancing the sustainability of industry products for residential, commercial, and industrial uses.
In addition to advocating for the North American composite panel industry, CPA operates the Grademark Certification Program and the International Testing and Certification Center (ITCC) test lab in Leesburg, VA. CPA was the first third-party certifier (TPC) in the world to be approved by the California Air Resources Board for formaldehyde emissions testing, and has since been recognized as a TPC by the Environmental Protection Agency for TSCA Title VI formaldehyde emissions certification.
The Composite Panel Association is committed to advancing and certifying the sustainability of industry products for residential, commercial and industrial uses.
For more information about the ECC Program, contact Ed Deomano.
Effective January 1, 2019
CPA Eco-CertifiedTM Composite (ECC) Sustainability Standard CPA 4-19 [PDF]
Valid through March 31, 2019
CPA Eco-CertifiedTM Composite (ECC) Sustainability Standard CPA 4-11 [PDF]