ANN ARBOR, Mich. — NSF International, an independent organization committed to protecting and improving human health and the environment, offers two new environmental programs to meet the growing demand for science-based support to verify environmental product claims. NSF can now provide Product Category Rule (PCR) development and Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) verification across multiple product groups and industries. 

Based on international environmental management guidelines (ISO 14025), Product Category Rules define how to conduct a life cycle assessment for a particular product group and what to include in the resulting report. A life cycle assessment measures inputs, outputs and environmental impacts of a product across its lifespan, from cradle to grave. The Environmental Product Declaration is the third-party-verified report that functions like a nutrition label to explain the data generated from a life cycle assessment. 

Adopted by European countries and growing in recognition in the U.S., PCRs and EPDs provide an international standard of communication to compare and report a product’s environmental impact throughout its entire life cycle. This is a benefit for organizations that manufacture and sell products internationally.

As a leading ANSI-accredited developer of more than 70 American National standards, NSF’s National Center for Sustainability Standards (NCSS), serves as a Program Operator for developing Product Category Rules. The NCSS develops PCRs in a transparent and open process in accordance with internationally-recognized environmental standards.

NSF’s National Center for Sustainability Standards has already begun working with several flooring trade associations on the first North American PCR for resilient, carpet, laminate, tile, and wood flooring products, including:

  • Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI)
  • National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA)
  • North American Laminate Flooring Association (NALFA)
  • Resilient Floor Covering Institute (RFCI)
  • Tile Council of North America (TCNA)

Both the Resilient Floor Covering Institute (RFCI) and Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) have a history of collaboration with NSF’s National Center of Sustainability Standards. RFCI participated in the development of the sustainability assessment standard for resilient flooring (NSF/ANSI 332), and CRI on the development of the sustainability assessment standard for carpet (NSF/ANSI 140). Both of these standards utilize life cycle assessments to support certification.

According to Bill Freeman, consultant to the Resilient Floor Covering Institute, “Product Category Rule development provides the necessary foundation for life cycle assessment reporting and Environmental Product Declarations of flooring materials. All three are essential to lend credibility to environmental data and provide our customers with a comprehensive tool to evaluate the environmental impacts of their flooring products.”

“PCRs and EPDs help eliminate greenwashing by providing industries and organizations with a verified, scientific and internationally-accepted method of supporting environmental product claims,” said Jane Wilson, NCSS Director. “Professionals that specify and purchase these products will have verified data to use in analyzing and selecting environmentally preferable products.”

Other industries expressing interest in PCRs and EPDs include building products and contract furniture.  If your industry is interested in product category rules or environmental product declarations, contact NSF Sustainability Standards Specialist Mindy Costello at mcostello@nsf.org.

About NSF International: NSF International (www.nsf.org) has been testing and certifying products for safety, health and the environment since 1944.  As an independent, public health and safety organization, NSF’s mission is to protect human health and the environment through standards development, inspection, testing and certification for the food, water, build/construction, retail, consumer products, chemical and health science industries. Operating in more than 120 countries, NSF is committed to protecting human 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 to help companies green their products, operations, systems and supply chains.

About NCSS: 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 founded a new, national initiative to support sustainability standards activities - the National Center for Sustainability Standards - in the fall of 2010. 

NSF is a leading American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-accredited developer of more than 70 American National Standards that protect public health and the environment. Through the National Center for Sustainability Standards, NSF develops life-cycle based, multi-attribute sustainability standards for building products and materials, furniture, carpet and flooring, fabrics, wallcoverings, roofing membranes, green chemicals, and water and wastewater infrastructure.

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

CONTACT: Greta Houlahan
Phone: 734.913.5723
E-mail: houlahan@nsf.org