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The United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) recently released its Recommendations of Specifications, Standards, and Ecolabels for Federal Purchasing, which include four sustainability standards developed by global public health organization NSF International. The recommendations are meant to help federal purchasers identify and procure environmentally sustainable products and services to meet the goals of Executive Order (EO) 13693, Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade.
The EPA’s recommendations are based on an independent assessment of private sector environmental performance standards and ecolabels compared against the EPA guidelines for environmental performance standards and ecolabels. The recommendations include the following standards developed or co-developed by NSF International:
· NSF/ANSI 140: Sustainability Assessment for Carpet
· NSF/ANSI 332: Sustainability Assessment for Resilient Floor Coverings
· NSF/ANSI 336: Sustainability Assessment for Commercial Furnishings Fabric
· ANSI/BIFMA e3-2010 Furniture Sustainability Standard, a standard co-written with the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association
The final recommendations provide a process for decision-making that favors products certified to multi-attribute, life-cycle based sustainability standards. If products certified to these multi-attribute standards are not available, then acceptable single-attribute standards are recommended.
The NSF/ANSI standards included in the recommendations are American National Standards facilitated by the NSF National Center for Sustainability Standards (NCSS) using the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) stakeholder consensus process. This method encourages participation from industry, academia, government, purchasers and other interested parties and helps ensure a broad range of stakeholder interests are represented in the standards development process.
The NSF standards are point-based and provide a ranking of product criteria achievement (conformant, silver, gold, platinum). The BIFMA e3 Standard awards points to attain level® 1, 2 or 3 certification, with level® 3 being the highest achievement. Categories of criteria vary by standard but generally cover materials, manufacturing processes (inputs and outputs), a company’s social accountability or governance policies and end-of-product-life management. These multi-attribute criteria covering the lifecycle of a product make the standards robust in measuring the sustainability attributes of a product and the sustainability intent of the manufacturing organization.
“EPA recognition of NSF International standards is an important step in extending the influence of these sustainability standards to a broader procurement audience,” said Jessica Slomka, Manager of the NSF International NCSS. “These sustainability standards have been successful in transforming industries and encouraging more sustainable products and processes. EPA acceptance could help further interest these industries in developing more sustainable products, which is a win-win.”
“NSF International has worked closely with the EPA, the Government Services Administration and several industries over the years to help develop standards that reflect industry best practices and marketplace needs,” said Jessica Evans, Director of Standards for NSF International. “These standards showcase the benefits of industry and stakeholder participation in the development of sustainability standards.”
For more information on NSF International’s sustainability standards for building materials, contact Vanessa Gaggo at 734.769.5192 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Editor’s Note: Media interested in more information can contact Liz Nowland-Margolis at email@example.com or +01-734-418-6624.
About NSF International: NSF International is a global independent organization that writes standards, and tests and certifies products for the water, food, health sciences and commercial and consumer goods industries to minimize adverse health effects and protect the environment (nsf.org). Founded in 1944, NSF is committed to protecting human health and safety worldwide. Operating in more than 165 countries, NSF International is a Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Center on Food Safety, Water Quality and Indoor Environment.
NSF International’s sustainability services offer a range of standardized and proprietary methods of measuring sustainability for organizations, products, processes, supply chains and services. Through its National Center for Sustainability Standards, NSF International has created PCRs, verified EPDS and developed animal welfare and sustainability standards for product categories such as down, chemicals, building products and materials, and water quality. NSF International works with leading regulators, scientists, engineers, public health and environmental health professionals, and industry representatives to develop these transparent, science-based standards, protocols and product category rules.