Welcome to BFM Environment Ltd


BFM Environment is the EHS branch of BFM.  We provide information, advice and on-site reviews to member companies on environmental management and health & safety.  We also  produce reports - often funded - for the benefit of the UK furniture manufacturing sector.

Services & Benefits of BFM Membership

EHS Benefits of joining BFM:
  • Advice line: provides advice on any areas of EHS management such as legislation, technical issues and best practice

  • Site reviews: of  operations to assess current levels of EHS performance, with the provision of a summary report including recommendations

  • Risk assessments: encouraging member companies to conduct their own risk assessments making use of training and example documents which the association can provide. However, on-site help can also be provided to assist sites with their risk assessments

  • Health and Safety Certification: BFM Ltd operates a H&S Certification scheme which has been assessed and approved by the Association of British Insurers, membership of which should enable companies to obtain reduced rates of Employers Liability Insurance. Certification is available to companies which can demonstrate a genuine commitment to H&S along with continual improvement of performance

  • Monitoring: BFM Ltd provides a range of H&S monitoring services for its member companies including:
    o       Wood dust personal exposure    
    o       Solvent personal exposure
    o       Local exhaust ventilation testing for wood dust and solvent extraction systems
    o       Noise surveys can also be performed
    o       Health surveillance: a nasal cancer screening service is offered (high Wycombe and surrounds only)

  • Seminars: held on an occasional basis around the country to give a concise guide to legal compliance, best practice and risk minimisation focusing specifically on the furniture manufacturing sector

  • Training: BFM has worked in conjunction with Dr Alistair Bromhead to develop a range of health, safety and environmental training courses. Some of these are City & Guilds accredited and they are run as in-house courses and open events. Courses such as the City & Guilds Manual Handling Train the Trainer course are run by Alistair on a regular basis and significant discounts are offered to BFM members

  • Update: a monthly publication available by e-mail which contains news of EHS developments relevant to the sector as well as details of forthcoming environmental conferences and guidance etc

  • Policy level representation: BFM Ltd works closely with regulators and policy formers such as DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), DTI and WOODNIG (Woodworking National Interest Group of the Health and Safety Executive), to ensure that member views are represented during the formation and revision of policy

  • Furniture Industry Sustainability Programme: BFM Ltd can certify members to the FISP programme


crrlogo08BFM participates in cleaner design project for furniture
During early 2010, BFM has been leading a work package as part of a larger project, to investigate the impact of design upon the potential for office furniture remanufacture. Remanufacturing can be defined as: "A series of manufacturing steps acting on an end-of-life part or product in order to return it to like-new or better performance, with warranty to match." A report summarising the key findings is now available. Key topics which BFM has investigated have included the optimisation of the choice of materials, number of components, life-span of components, disassembly and the identification of the most appropriate end-of-life treatment.

project partners end of lifeBFM project on end-of-life furniture, environmental design and remanufacturing
During early 2009, BFM Ltd completed a two year study regarding the scope for the attainment of zero emissions production in the furniture manufacturing sector.  There have been a wide range of interesting outcomes which have greatly contributed to the level of knowledge regarding the methods through which environmental progress can be made by the office, contract and kitchen furniture supply chain.

Click on the title above to access the project pages and use this link to download the final project report

Led by BFM Ltd, the project has involved a range of partners. Key outcomes have been:

  • Redesign of furniture from 5 categories of product such as tub chair, office desk and office chair. The environmental impact of the original product was analysed and researchers then worked with the company to identify and implement measures to reduce the environmental impact. The resulting “green” furniture, has included a number of items which generate significant manufacturing and marketing benefits

  • Remanufacturing: further new products have been designed, prototyped and are now being sold by Green-Works. This organisation has traditionally been involved in office furniture reuse. However, as part of this project, Green-Works set up a remanufacturing centre to disassemble end-of-life office desks and make a range of new furniture items

  • Identification of the potential for product service systems to enhance business profitability and sustainability – through looking at alternative business models such as leasing and renting. This allows the manufacturer to retain ownership of the product – thereby deriving maximum benefit from cleaner designs and the potential end-of-life value of materials.

logo-envirowise-walesExcellent results for BFM's successful resource efficiency clubs
BFM ran the UK’s first resource efficiency clubs specifically aimed at furniture and woodworking businesses thanks to sponsorship from Envirowise. Working with SEFTA (South East Furniture Training Association) the initiative initially focussed on a group of ten companies based in the South East during 2006. A further set of 8 companies were recruited in 2007 and the process was replicated in Nottingham.  The results provide ongoing invaluable help for companies seeking environmental imporvements and cost reductions.  The project identified savings of around £1 milllion.  In addition, BFM has conducted research and developed publications on a number of key environmental issues for the furniture industry such as solvent reduction, waste minimisation and sustainable development. This is a brief summary of the current and completed projects with links to more detailed information. 

biffa award logo2Benchmarking wood waste combustion
This Biffaward sponsored project compiled a best practice guide to help companies evaluate the pay-back of boiler installations and optimise the performance of existing systems. Benchmarking information is being generated and the results will be fed into the review of the process guidance note.

wraplogoWood waste reclamation and reuse
 A short research contract with the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) to assess the extent of current activity and prevailing market conditions within the wood waste reclamation and reuse sector, with the aim of identifying options to grow the sector overall. Specific sectors are concentrated upon such as end-of-life (EOL) furniture.

wraplogoWood waste recycling in furniture manufacturing
Sponsored by WRAP - the Government's Waste and Resources Action Programme, this initiative has been evaluating the timber recycling options available to the furniture industry and documenting the variables which contribute to the viability of each. Information has been gathered from 72 furniture manufacturers and around 20 wood waste reprocessors. The final project report was published in November 2003 and can be obtained from WRAP. 

biffa award logo2Benchmarking solvent use
This project sought to quantify the performance of wood coating operations with regard to issues such as solvent consumption, thinner use and coating wastage. Benchmarking data was generated for three sub-sectors: reproduction, solid timber users and board material users.

A project summary can be viewed by clicking on the link and a free report is also available. Both provide benchmarking information as well as advice on best practice.  The main project sponsor was Biffaward, with other contributors including Granyte Woodfinishes Ltd and Viatec.

bfmenvironmentlogo2Feasibility study to evaluate the sustainability of the UK reproduction furniture manufacturing sector
This project considered the practical implications of sustainable development in relation to reproduction furniture manufacture. It identified priority issues which need to be addressed to enable the sub-sector to operate more sustainably.  The project was sponsored by the Sustainable Technologies Initiative, a government funded programme designed to enable industry to develop and adopt new technologies which are more sustainable.    


city  guilds logo

BFM has had a suite of health, safety and environmental training courses accredited by City and Guilds. Such external certification is nationally recognised and should give added credibility to the qualifications in the eyes of insurers and the Health and Safety Executive.

Dr Alistair Bromhead runs these courses for us and offers various open course and in-house options. Where we are not able to get these funded by UK and European scheme, BFM members enjoy significant discounts:

City & Guilds - Manual handling train the trainer

2 day course to train managers and supervisors on manual handling risk legislation, assessment, anatomy, safe lifting techniques and training to enable them to deliver safe lifting training in-house. This is the only City & Guilds certified course of this nature.  

City & Guilds - Certificate in Health and Safety
2 day course for managers to provide an overview of legislation, risk assessment and best practice with regard to the furniture industry

City & Guilds: Certificate in Environmental Management
3 day course for managers giving a firm foundation for environmental management knowledge in the furniture manufacturing sector

Other courses available inlcude:

City and Guilds: the management of hazardous substances in woodworking
A one day course which looks at the control of substances hazardous to health, especially wood dust and its associated controls

City and Guilds: resource efficiency in the woodworking industry
A two day course to provide managers with the competence to identify, evaluate and control resource use in the woodworking industries.

For further information, please see contact details below.                                                                  

Industry Programmes

fisplogoFurniture Industry Sustainability Programme
Sustainable development issues are becoming increasingly important to Governments, retailers and consumers with all three pushing for products to be manufactured in a sustainable manner. The UK Government is actively encouraging sectors to develop this ethos in the form of sustainability programmes. The Furniture Industry Sustainability Programme is the sector’s response to the challenge following several years worth of work by the Furniture Industry Environment Committee – of which BFM Ltd is a key member.  

FISP revolves around a number of environmental, social and economic commitments. Companies can become certified to FISP when they can demonstrate to a third party auditor that they meet the standards required by these commitments.

For further information, please see contact details below,                                                                          


For further information on joining BFM and taking advantage of these services please go to the contact page.