The existence of the SOFEA initiative

When
The SOFEA transitional steering committee was established during the Frankfurt conference on September 17, 2013 to prepare the creation of SOFEA and define the conditions for implementing the system. The initiative officially started in Frankfurt, 27 January 2014.

After completing the methodology in 2017 the first working groups; Writing Instruments, Notepads & Books, Filing, started to create the scorecards and filled the system with representative product data.

In January 2018, the online platform has been made available to the (pilot) companies for the completion of the first product assessments to be validated by an external service provider.

Who?
The project concept and issues were presented by Marcel Ringeard (former UFIPA Chairman and former CEO of Pilot Europe).

The project was born by 20 industry players. Members are represented by manufacturers and resellers active in the office supply industry.

Why?
The importance of sustainable procurement continued to grow rapidly. It was no longer seen as a nice-to-have discipline but the sustainable procurement has evolved into an integral function of the business.

Also, the plethora of eco-labels combined with vague on-pack information was failing to guide the purchasing decisions of end-users.  

What?
SOFEA is a non-for-profit European association, based in Brussels, Belgium and Venlo, the Netherlands.

The SOFEA platform enables resellers and manufacturers to fill out a simple online questionnaire with specific requirements on product, manufacturer and corporate level.

The outcome of the questionnaire is an A-to-E rating for each product (group), where A stands for the best possible rating.