In the areas of environment, health and safety, more and more legislation is being prepared at European level, i.e. by the European Commission and/or Parliament. As these decisions affect the bedding industry, it is most important that the industries’ interests are defended with the authorities. The authorities, however, wanted only one single European representative as interlocutor.
As such, a lot of industries have created a European association (chemical industry, wood industry, furniture, etc). It is our firm belief that the bedding industry has its specific problems and as such will be better represented by having its own independent association, willing to work in co-operation with others (especially with the association of suppliers, furniture association).
When the bedding industry is being attacked anywhere in Europe, it will have an immediate effect in all other countries. We believe that in such cases it is better to defend the industry with one European voice, and not a national one.
- EBIA represents the bedding industry in the Commission’s working group on the eco-label of mattresses (modification of the previous criteria, and end-of-life of mattresses will be discussed)
- EBIA co-operates with Europur (Federation of PUR producers), Eurolatex, and EFIC
(furniture association) on:
- Fire legislation
- Inocuity of mattresses
We also believe it is a good thing for the European bedding companies to have:
- The opportunity to meet and discuss common problems
- Access to European information and statistics
We therefore have regular board meetings (each association has two representatives within the Board); additionally there is the annual general assembly to which all members of the national federations and the associated members are invited (140 participants in 2000). Statistics are also published each year.
In some cases, EBIA can also establish ‘internal’ and voluntary regulations, which will then be respected by the members and consequently avoid legislation.
- EBIA has set norms for the use of the term ‘latex’. These will be applied in all member countries.
- EBIA’s Technical Committee is preparing specifications and tests for slats. As soon as the documents are ready, these will be recommended to our suppliers.
Finally, EBIA could enhance national actions for the promotion of the bedding industry. Should this be of interest to the members, EBIA will finance marketing studies and / or promotional actions. Some members indeed believe that the distribution sector is becoming more and more European and the bedding industry should be able to confront this challenge.