CHICAGO and ANN ARBOR, MI – The number of “green” products in the marketplace has risen dramatically in recent years, yet consumer confidence in green marketing claims is at an all time low. A proliferation of ecolabels, unsubstantiated claims or “greenwashing,” and the lack of consensus regarding how green or sustainable products and services are evaluated have led to confusion and mistrust among buyers. The market’s acceptance of green products is contingent upon providing consumers with credible data that support green or sustainability product claims.

To defend against the tide of greenwashing, NSF International, an independent, not-for-profit organization that writes national standards and certifies products to protect public health and the environment, has developed a comprehensive Sustainable Product Assurance program to help measure and verify the environmental and social claims of products.

The program offers a portfolio of interconnected services to strengthen sustainable product claims:
* Development of national standards, protocols and customized-measurement methodologies – Utilizing scientifically-sound measurement methods related to content, material and energy resource use, and end-of-life concerns, NSF’s experts can develop national industry standards, technically-rigorous protocols or a customized methodology by which to verify a product’s environmental or social claims.
* Independent verification of environmental or social product performance claims – NSF can perform product evaluations or review test data to verify self-declarations of environmental or social product performance.
* Sustainable Product Certification – This involves evaluating and testing products to ensure conformance with published standards and protocols. The NSF Sustainability Certified Mark is granted once certification is achieved through product evaluation, testing, conformity assessment against standards and protocols, and a production systems review. The Mark may be used on packaging, products and marketing materials to signal conformance to a national standard or protocol. Products certified by NSF Sustainability also appear on NSF’s online listings. NSF-certified products will undergo regular testing to verify continued compliance with certification requirements.

The NSF Sustainable Product Assurance program also demonstrates compliance with the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) recently revised Green Guidelines. NSF Sustainability’s testing and certification program verifies environmental claims, such as water, waste and energy savings, recyclability and nontoxic claims for a number of products. This is important as the FTC continues to focus attention to manufacturers of products which claim to be environmentally-friendly without verification.

“As the number of green claims in the marketplace continues to increase, consumers and companies are demanding greater accountability for these claims. Independent, third-party verification and certification of environmental products and services provides credibility, maximizing the value of green product investments,” said Malcolm Fox, Director of NSF Sustainability. “NSF has drawn upon its expertise in sustainable standards development, product assurance and certification, and quality systems management to develop the NSF Sustainable Products Assurance Program. Our 65-year reputation for independence, quality and commitment to public health and the environment makes NSF the ideal sustainability assurance partner.”

NSF International has been developing national standards and certifying products for safety, health and the environment for more than 65 years, and is a World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Food and Water Safety and Indoor Environment. NSF’s existing certification programs cover:
* Green building products and materials
* Sustainable commercial interior products and furnishings
* Energy- and water-efficient consumer and commercial goods, including EPA’s ENERGY STAR® and WaterSenseSM programs
* Green chemical formulations and products
* Organic and sustainable food
* Organic personal care products
* Recyclable and biodegradable materials
* Carbon-neutral products

National Center for Sustainability Standards Founded by NSF

Developing national standards by which to measure a product’s sustainability attributes helps eliminate greenwashing by bringing transparency and credibility to the sustainability marketplace. With this in mind, NSF has founded a new, national initiative to support sustainability standards activities - the National Center for Sustainability Standards.

As a leading American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-accredited developer of more than 70 American National Standards that protect public health and the environment, NSF, through the National Center for Sustainability Standards, has developed sustainability standards for: building products and materials; furniture; carpet and flooring, fabrics; wallcoverings; roofing membranes; green chemicals; and drinking water quality. NSF works with leading regulators, scientists, engineers, public health and environmental health professionals and members of the industry representatives to develop these transparent, consensus-based standards.

The National Center for Sustainability Standards will continue to add to its growing standards portfolio while providing education, outreach, and research and development support to private industry, trade associations, government and academia to foster a consensus-based approach toward conformity assessment in the sustainability field.

About NSF International: NSF International has been testing and certifying products for safety, health and the environment for more than 65 years. As an independent, not-for-profit organization, NSF’s mission is to protect public health and the environment through standards development, inspection, testing and certification for the food, water, build/construction, retail, chemical and health science industries. Operating in more than 120 countries, NSF is committed to protecting public health worldwide and is a World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Food and Water Safety and Indoor Environment.
NSF Sustainability draws upon this expertise in standards development, product assurance and certification, advisory services and quality systems management to help companies green their products, operations, systems and supply chains.

Additional services include NSF Education and Training, safety audits for the food and water industries, dietary and nutritional supplement certification and organic certification provided by QAI (Quality Assurance International).

SOURCE: NSF International

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