On November 27, 2013, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) requested comments on draft guidelines covering government use of privately developed ecolabels and environmental performance standards for products in connection with federal purchasing. According to EPA's Federal Register
notice, the guidelines are intended to help federal agencies implement sustainable acquisition rules - mandated by executive order 13514
and federal regulations - that require 95% of the U.S. government's applicable purchases to be sustainable. The full draft guidelines
and the EPA's original Federal Register call for comments
are both available online.
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) filed comments in response to the notice, recommending the use of updated and additional standards in the final version of the guidelines. ANSI also suggested that the EPA draw on approaches currently used by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) for the recognition of accreditation bodies, among other recommendations.
ANSI further noted in its comments that although only some of the due process criteria for the development of voluntary consensus standards contained in the ANSI Essential Requirements (www.ansi.org/essentialrequirements) were in the current version of the guidelines, the Institute's understanding is that standards approved as American National Standards would satisfy the recommended criteria. The Institute also provided information about two ANSI pilot programs related to environmental labels and declarations [see related stories one and two], as well as an independently conducted market analysis related to the current and future use of environmental labels and declarations.
Comments were also submitted by 75 other individuals and representatives of a large assortment of stakeholder organizations, many of them members of the ANSI Federation, including:
- The American Chemistry Council (ACC)
- The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA)
- The American Wood Council (AWC)
- The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM)
- ASTM International
- The Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association (BIFMA)
- The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)
- General Electric (GE)'s GE Global Research
- Green Seal, Inc.
- IPC - Association Connecting Electronics Industries
- The Resilient Floor Covering Institute (RFCI)
- The Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc. (SFI)
- The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA)
- UL (Underwriters Laboratories)
- U.S. Green Building Council
ANSI's full comments can be viewed online. To review all 76 submitted comments, visit www.regulations.gov.
To review a list of ANSI-Accredited Standards Developers, visit www.ansi.org/asd. For a summary of the benefits of the American National Standards (ANS) process, visit www.ansi.org/ansvalue.