According to a recent study conducted by Hanley-Wood, sustainability is one of the top five reasons people choose a kitchen cabinet manufacturing company. For those homeowners seeking kitchen and bathroom cabinets manufactured with more eco-friendly practices, the KCMA Environmental Stewardship Program (ESP) certification can help guide them to the right sources. Manufacturer certification is awarded annually based on compliance in five categories: air quality, product resources management, process resource management, environmental stewardship and community relations. This is the environmental certification program that specifically focuses on kitchen and bath cabinets.

Introduced in 2006, KCMA developed the ESP to encourage practices that benefit the environment and communities served by cabinet manufacturers. The ESP goes beyond other environmental programs by taking a holistic approach to certification, holding the industry to high standards for their products, forest sustainability and manufacturing processes. The voluntary certification program provides a tangible way for cabinet manufacturers to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability.


The certification criteria is reviewed on an annual basis by the KCMA, the Environmental Stewardship Committee and the Board of Directors. It has been strengthened four times since the program began in 2006.

In order to earn ESP Certification, manufacturers must earn a minimum of 80 points, based on compliance with the following criteria:

  • Manufacturers must demonstrate their commitment to protect the environment as evidenced by a written policy statement
  • The use of CARB ATCM / TSCA Title VI compliant low-formaldehyde editing panel products is mandatory and should constitute 100% of all particleboard, medium density fiberboard (MDF) and plywood used in the cabinets. These products also must be certified by CARB / TSCA Title VI approved third-party certifier to meet low formaldehyde emission standards
  • 80% of particleboard and MDF used in the cabinets comply with either the CPA ECC 4 or Benchmark CWSS environmental standard.
  • Chain of Custody (COC) Certification of the manufacturer through a recognized sustainable forestry program is encouraged
  • Hardwoods, softwoods and plywood purchased should be certified through a recognized sustainable forestry program
  • A documented energy conservation program is in place
  • A written Environmental Management System is encouraged
  • An active recycling program for processing waste is in place
  • All federal, state and local environmental requirements are observed and the manufacturer agrees to report to KCMA any violation
  • The manufacturer demonstrates community involvement and leadership through service or charitable organizations



What are the values embedded in ESP certification?
ESP certification reflects the following beliefs:
  • Forests not only provide outstanding environmental benefits, but also provide an array of renewable wood products and derivatives
  • We encourage the continued and expanded use of forest products
  • We are committed to promoting conservation and the intelligent use of our natural resources
  • We support and encourage responsible forest management practices that promote sustainability and result in long-term economic and environmental benefits
  • We are committed to educating our members and customers in the global wood products community about environmental and forestry issues
What are the benefits of ESP participation?
In addition to helping ensure the future of both the environment and the cabinet manufacturing industry, ESP-certified manufacturers enjoy the following benefits:
  • The status and prestige of participating in a program setting new standards in sustainability.  Recognition on the KCMA website.  Technical advice and assistance from KCMA staff to help keep companies in compliance, or in case of failure, assist in returning companies to compliance
  • Use of the ESP seal for display on cabinets as well as in advertising & promotional literature. The ESP program is periodically audited by ANSI for program compliance
  • The ESP program gained further credibility by its reference in the ANSI-approved ICC 700 National Green Building Standards, the benchmark in green building standards

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