UL begins certification of green products
Underwriters Laboratories, the 114-year-old organization known for consumer product safety testing, has beguin offering assessment and certification of environmental product claims.
UL's two new programs launched in January 2009.
"The question of what's green and what's not green is being asked more and more," Christopher R. Nelson, UL's director for corporate development, said at Greenbuild in Boston.
"UL consumers really have been asking us how do you fit into this space, they look to UL for credibility, and retailers have been asking us (the same questions) as well."
In developing its new programs, UL sought to answer those questions and leverage its reputation for high standards, safety, trust and third-party objectivity by looking to the building community and the built environment, Nelson said.
"This is a very important part of UL's growth strategy," he said.
The services available under UL's new Environmental Claims Validation and certification programs start with an examination of the environmental attributes asserted about a specific product including its energy efficiency, recycled content, volatile organic compound content, or emissions and other eco-friendly qualities.
In the validation service, the environmental claims about a product are audited and tested. Firms are to receive a detailed letter reporting the outcome. The process could take as few as four to six weeks, depending on the product and attributes involved.
Under the certification service, in addition to a review of documentation for environmental claims, auditing and testing, UL would assess and certify products based on industry-accepted standards. Certified products would receive a UL listing or label that is being developed.
In both cases, the environmental attributes of specific products would be reassessed periodically in order for the validation or certification to remain active.
"When we put our listing on a product, you can be sure that the product lives up to standards throughout its useable life," Nelson said.
UL, based in Northbrook, Illinois, plans to launch the two programs in Asia later in 2009. And the organization hopes that businesses will come to regard the environmental claims validation program as the bridge to certification.
"We'd like to get to the point where certification is the norm," Nelson said.