NORTHBROOK, IL — Underwriters Laboratories, the venerable product safety testing service, today is launching an environmental claims verification service, UL Environment Inc. The new unit was created to help companies and the public make sense of green claims and provide manufacturers with transparency and credibility in the marketplace.
UL Environment Inc.’s services include two new offerings, beginning this month with a claims verification service. In late 2009, the organization plans to expand with additional services.
The idea for the service began about five years ago, according to Chris Nelson, Director, Global Commercial Development at UL Environment, when a UL employee submitted a new business development opportunity to the company relating to the creation of services for environmentally sustainable products. "This idea percolated in the company for a couple years and by 2007 UL began to see green products and environmental product claims proliferating in the marketplace," says Nelson. Around the same time, UL customers and environmentally sustainable product manufacturers began asking UL to provide services in this space due to the increasing demand for transparency in, and support of, the credibility of sustainability claims.
UL, a 115 year-old organization whose "UL" certification logo is ubiquitous on electric and other products, has a long history as a leading product safety testing organization. As company officials viewed the proliferation of eco-labels and certification marks, they saw an opportunity to bring order to the chaos.
The Environmental Claims Validation, launching this month, is aimed at providing validation for environmentally sustainable product claims by means of independent testing and assessments. Through this program, UL Environment will audit and test environmental attribute claims made by manufacturers to ensure accuracy and truthfulness of these claims. UL will also launch a program in the coming months to certify products to industry accepted environmental standards, such as those promulgated by ASTM, BIFMA, IEEE, NSF, and other standard-setting organizations.
Nelson considers the two new programs UL has developed, which are to launch in the North America and Europe with plans to expand to Asia late this year, "a logical extension for the organization and a key growth strategy as businesses increasingly tout the eco-friendliness of their operations and their products -- and the public grows increasingly wary of greenwashing."
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