The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Gulf of Mexico Program recently announced that the St. Tammany Parish, La., government received a...
WQA Sustainability Program evaluates a product's environmental, social and economic footprint
Pilot testing has begun for Water Quality Assn.’s (WQA) new Eco-Labeling Program, which focuses on sustainability.
There are three pillars of sustainability: environmental, social and economic. The WQA Sustainability Program evaluates a product's footprint in all three of these areas. Gold Seal-certified companies will be familiar with some aspects of the Sustainability Program since many product attributes, which are evaluated through the WQA Gold Seal Program, are also important for sustainability.
For example, the value of a product is part of the economic pillar of sustainability. An eco-friendly product that does not work will have no value to the consumer and is not sustainable. Consumers who purchase such a product are likely to return it or throw it away, and then replace it with a higher quality product. Therefore, Gold Seal certification for material safety, performance and structural integrity will make it easier for manufacturers to achieve certification for sustainability.
To develop the WQA sustainability standards, the task force identified environmental hot spots using Life Cycle Analysis (LCA). These key product attributes are then evaluated through the standard and converted into a pass/fail score. This approach allowed the task force to target the standards on manufacturing and corporate practices that will have immediate and significant impact on the environment. The simplicity of this approach, versus a full LCA for every product, avoids placing a huge cost burden on sustainable products, which may make them unpopular with consumers. A product that is too expensive for market demand is also not sustainable.
Manufacturers who are collaborating with WQA to pilot test the Sustainability Program include: