Environmental management standards are being increasingly sought by companies and organizations looking to reduce their impact on the planet. ISO 14000, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) family of standards on environmental management, was first published in 1996 and has since been implemented in 155 countries around the world.
Within the United States, organizations from both the public and private sectors have put the ISO 14000 family of standards into action to monitor their continued environmental performance. As the coordinator of the U.S. standards and conformity assessment system, ANSI offers interested stakeholders a number of ways to get engaged and demonstrate their commitment to this important family of standards.
Organizations wishing to become accredited ISO 14001 management system certification bodies can do so through the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB), a joint partnership of ANSI and ASQ. ANAB granted 43 such accreditations by year-end 2009.
ANSI also accredits validation and/or verification bodies (V/VBs) to two standards in the ISO 14000 family through its Greenhouse Gas Accreditation Program. The program, which has granted 17 accreditations since its launch in 2008, assesses V/VBs against the requirements defined in the international standards ISO 14065:2007, Greenhouse gases - Requirements for greenhouse gas validation and verification bodies for use in accreditation or other forms of recognition, and ISO 14064-3:2006, Greenhouse gases - Specification with guidance for the validation and verification of greenhouse gas assertions.
In addition to these accreditation activities related to the ISO 14000 family of standards, ANSI also acts as an accreditation body for certifiers of products that conserve water while maintaining high performance levels. In June 2009, ANSI and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to mark ANSI's acceptance as an Accreditation Body (AB) to participate in the EPA WaterSense Program. [see related news item] Five certification bodies have already been accredited under this new effort.
Thinking green extends beyond manufacturers and industry stakeholders. Consumers are highly interested in products and services that are sustainable - leading to a flood of products on store shelves and a great deal of marketplace confusion on the true meaning of "green." An ANSI workshop in April 2009 brought together a broad range of experts and advocates to share insights and develop recommendations on standards and criteria for sustainable products. A workshop report detailing the findings of the event is freely available. [see related news item]
ANSI's members are also taking great strides to promote environmentally friendly products and services. Last month the International Code Council (ICC), the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), and the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IES) - all ANSI members - announced the launch of the International Green Construction Code (IGCC). This effort will provide the building industry with language that both broadens and strengthens building codes in a way that will accelerate the construction of high performance green buildings across the U.S. [see related news item]
The Institute and its members are forging the path for a greener world through these and other initiatives. For more information on Earth Day 2010, visit www.earthday.org.