NSF’s Sustainability Assessment protocol for services and service providers evaluates and certifies the sustainable practices of service providers, enabling compliance with E.O. 13514

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — NSF International, an independent global organization that writes public health and environmental standards for the food, water and consumer goods industries, can now certify service providers in a multitude of industries to North America’s first sustainability assessment protocol - NSF P391: General Sustainability Assessment Criteria for Services and Service Providers. Organizations certified to the protocol will be able to differentiate their services and achieve preferred vendor status with companies and organizations seeking more sustainable operating solutions, including government agencies (local, state and federal) and others seeking to comply with U.S. Executive Order 13514. 

Developed through the NSF National Center for Sustainability Standards (NCSS), the NSF P391 Sustainability Assessment Criteria for Services and Service Providers protocol was established through a consensus-based process that included input from an expert panel of service providers, suppliers, regulatory agencies, environmental organizations, and end users. The NCSS has also developed sustainability standards through this consensus-based process for a wide range of product categories, including chemicals, commercial furnishings, flooring, building products and materials, and water treatment and distribution systems.

Organizations that earn NSF P391 certification are well positioned to compete for contracts with governments (local, state and federal) and companies seeking more sustainable services.  For example, the goal of U.S. Executive Order 13514 is to ensure 95 percent of contracts include products and services with sustainable attributes (e.g. energy and water efficiency, recycled content), many of which are included in NSF P391. Organizations expressing interest in earning certification include environmental consulting firms, building contractors, engineering firms, maintenance contractors and installation companies.

“As a protocol that is applicable to all service provider types and sectors, NSF P391 could be used to support our customers by identifying services that comply with E.O. 13514,” said Brennan M. Conaway, Procurement Analyst for the Program Analysis Division of the U.S. General Services Administration.

“The NSF 391 protocol is the first in the industry to help define what constitutes more sustainable services,” said Tom Bruursema, General Manager of NSF’s Sustainability Division. “The criteria in this protocol helps service organizations assess their internal practices, drive efficiencies and attain preferred status in their markets by achieving more sustainable operational practices.”

How NSF P391 Certification Works

NSF provides certification to the new NSF P391 protocol through its NSF Sustainability division. NSF Sustainability helps companies develop standardized, objective methods of measuring sustainability that instill marketplace confidence and promote acceptance of more sustainable products and services.

Based on life cycle assessment and sustainability principles that measure the environmental and societal impacts of an operation, NSF P391 evaluates the sustainability of a service provider in three key areas:

  • Environment impact – energy use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions
  • Labor impact – health and safety, employment practices
  • Social responsibility impact – community assessment  

Organizations can earn NSF P391 certification at the Conformant, Silver, Gold or Platinum level. Once certified, service providers are authorized to use the NSF Sustainability Certified Mark in their advertising and marketing, helping quickly communicate their credibility as a sustainable services provider to government agencies and prospective customers. Monitoring and periodic reevaluation is required to maintain certification.

For more information on NSF P391 and NSF Sustainability services, visit nsfsustainability.org or contact Dennis Gillan at 734-476-2543 or dgillan@nsf.org.  To purchase a copy of the protocol, visit the NSF Book Store.

Editor’s note: To schedule an interview with NSF Sustainability General Manager Tom Bruursema, contact Greta Houlahan at 734-913-5723 or houlahan@nsf.org.

About NSF International: NSF International is an independent organization that writes standards, tests and certifies products for the construction, food, water 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. NSF 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 management systems to help companies green their products, operations, systems and supply chains. Through its National Center for Sustainability Standards, NSF has developed sustainability standards for product categories such as chemicals, building products and materials, and water quality. NSF works with leading regulators, scientists, engineers, public health and environmental health professionals, and industry representatives to develop these transparent, consensus-based standards.

Additional NSF services include Education and Training, safety audits for the food and water industries, nutritional/dietary supplement certification, organic certification provided by QAI (Quality Assurance International) and management systems registrations delivered through NSF International Strategic Registrations (NSF-ISR). NSF-ISR services include ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems registration, Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and Chain of Custody (COC) certifications.

CONTACT: Greta Houlahan
NSF International
Phone: 734-913-5723
Email: houlahan@nsf.org