Nov 17, 2010

NSF International Launches Sustainable Product Assurance Services

Services will verify environmental and social product claims

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, according to NSF International. 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 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 that claim to be environmentally friendly without verification.