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AHFA hosting Sustainability Summit Dec. 1-2

Annual meeting set for Asheville, N.C.

Heath E. Combs, Karyn Peterson -- Furniture Today, November 5, 2010

HIGH POINT — The American Home Furnishings Alliance will host its 2010 All-Industry Sustainability Summit on Dec. 1-2 at the Hilton Asheville Biltmore Park in Asheville, N.C.
The annual program provides marketing intelligence for companies developing eco-friendly home furnishings. Companies don't have to be AHFA members to attend.
This year's theme is "Weaving Sustainability into the Corporate Fabric: Competing in the Global Marketplace." For the third year, the Summit is co-sponsored with Cargill's BiOH polyols business unit.
"The government, the public and corporate stakeholders are beginning to demand more environmental information from companies," said Bill Perdue, AHFA vice president of environment, health, safety and standards, in a news release. "Gathering meaningful data and presenting it in a sensible, comprehensible way is a challenge. The summit will spotlight companies with successful sustainability policies and practices and provide a roadmap for others to follow."
Headlining the opening day program is Ernesta Ballard, senior vice president of corporate affairs for forest products company Weyerhaeuser, who will discuss her company's sustainability reporting. Ballard formerly was a commissioner in Alaska's Department of Environmental Conservation.
Returning speaker Suzanne Shelton, president and CEO of The Shelton Group, will present research commissioned by the AHFA exploring how home furnishings consumers understand and value environmental attributes.
Paul Hepperla, vice president of sustainability at Verisae, will describe his company's new Carbon Calculator online tool customized for the home furnishings industry, which helps companies measure their carbon footprint and track improvements.
The opening day will include an update on the marketing of eco-friendly attributes, with an overview of the Federal Trade Commission's newly released Green Guides.
A panel discussion will feature suppliers and Jack Cecil, president of Biltmore Farms and the grandson of George Vanderbilt, builder of the 250-room Biltmore Estate in 1895 on 8,000 acres here. Once America's largest private home, the estate is now a tourist attraction.
A Biltmore Farms development in Asheville is participating in a U.S. Green Building Council pilot program to study how developments can reduce sprawl, protect the environment and encourage healthy living.
The winner of the 2010 Sage Award, recognizing excellence in home furnishings through sustainable business practices, also will be announced at the summit.
The event also will highlight green efforts by manufacturers La-Z-Boy, Century and Bassett and will present information on an AHFA software platform designed to help furniture companies track environmental efforts.
Rooms at the Hilton Asheville Biltmore Park are available at a discounted rate of $149 per night.
Reservations can be made at, or by calling (828) 209-2700. The meeting code for the discount rate is AHFA. Rooms will be held for attendees through Nov. 10.
Registration for the summit is $325 for AHFA members and $500 for non-members. The registration can be completed online at by clicking on EVENTS and scrolling down to 2010 Sustainability Summit.

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