CertiPUR-US is moving forward with plans to launch the certification at the consumer market from late 2014 or early 2015. It may charge member companies for listing on its website, Helen Sullivan, communications counsel told delegates at the 2014 PFA meeting.
The suggestion that the CertiPUR-US programme might start charging its members to be listed on the group’s website came following a survey of its members which showed that over 50% would be interested in such a proposals, said Sullivan.
CertiPUR-US has been working to improve the clarity of its message to consumers. A key modification has been to change the hangtag that is attached to finished goods made with polyurethane foam.
“It now says, ‘made without phthalates, regulated by the consumer products safety commission’,” said Sullivan. This helps to bring the programme more into line with US Federal Trade Commission’s green guidelines, she added
A second change in the declaration is the move from saying “low voc, which can be, ‘low compared to what?’ to specifically saying we are low voc emissions for indoor air quality”. “And,” she added, “we say ‘less that 0.5 parts per million’, so we are being very specific about what we mean,” she said.
“We also share the message that we are a not-for-profit certification programme, and I think that’s a very strong message for us and it resonates with people who ask about the programme, “Sullivan said.
The CertiPUR-US website is increasingly important in terms of policing which companies are permitted to use the certiPUR-US logo, Sullivan said. This is because some firms which were certified in the past and are no longer permitted to use the logo and hang tag are still doing so. “The website and the list of companies participating is really a cross-check,” she added.
CertiPUR-US gets calls from consumers shopping online or in-store who want to check that the claims made on the label are OK. “There’s a core group of people for whom that’s not enough, they want proof, they go to the website and, if they don’t see the name of the company on the website as a participating company, they don’t buy it,” Sullivan added.
There are several types of companies within the CertiPUR-US umbrella, said Sullivan. These cover 72 foam product families and 150 downstreamers, said Sullivan. Downstreamers are: Mattress makers, upholstery manufactures, distributors and retailers, she said. In addition there are 24 foam producers which are members.
“We have people calling asking to be listed, “Sullivan said. “We are getting a lot of interest from these downstream customers and we want that more, because we also know that there are a lot of people out there using certified foams but they’re not registered to the programme, “ she added. “ We want them to register so we know who they are and we have more control over the claims they are making and the language that they use to talk about the programme.”
CertiPUR-US recently surveyed its members to see what products and services they would like the future and to assess their appreciation of the organisation.
“We started by doing a survey to all of our downstream customers, to develop ideas that will help us to generate more CertiPUR-US members and material that will help members,” she added.
An important finding, according to Sullivan, is that firms which are CertiPUR-US members have more confidence in dealing with questions about the foam part of their products than those who are not
Sullivan added a recent PFA survey found that 74% of companies listed as producing certified foam think the listing is very important 22% think it is somewhat important to be listed on the CertiPUR-US website as producing certified foam, said Sullivan, who added that this finding gave her confidence to consider charging for listing on the website in the future.
IN the future it is likely that CertiPUR-US will start charging for entries on the website.
CertiPUR-US was developed following the European CertiPUR system when the US foam industry realised that there “was a lot of sub-standard foams coming into the country, and there was no way to differentiate” it from higher specification US-made foam.
“If there was a focus on some chemicals” allowed overseas but not in the US, then “we would have no way to differentiate our own products.”
Once the CertiPUR-US standard was written and agreed, the first phase was to get foam makers to sign up to the programme and certify their own foam. Phase two saw upholstered furniture manufacturers, mattress manufacturers and retailers coming on board and specifying and buying certified foam, Sullivan said.
“Phase 3,” she added “is to educate consumers to begin asking for and demanding certified foam in their products.
“What we have to sell is our seal, the integrity and credibility behind it. The claims that we make about this seal are based on emissions analyses and performance testing. It’s made without ozone depleters, it’s made without PBDE flame retardants, it’s made without mercury, lead or other heavy metals, it’s made without formaldehyde, it’s made without phthalates regulated by the consumer products safety commission and [has] low VOC emissions for indoor air quality less than 0.5ppm. “It’s right there those are on the hang-tag and those are the claims you can make if your foam is certified,” Sullivan added.
The programme is being promoted via advertising and at, trade shows such as the ISPA show. CertiPUR-US has been widely taken up by US mattress manufacturers.
The certificate “shows your company cares,” said Sullivan. She added that consumers find it valuable if companies are listed on the CertiPUR-US website. “Consumers are already going to the website to see who’s listed, before we start promoting.”
For more on the 2014 PFA meeting in St Petersberg, Florida see CPI takes battle to polyurethane naysayers with campaign in the US and Loosely drafted CAL TB 117 flammability test poses problems for US flexible foamers.