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ULE 880 - Sustainability for Manufacturing Organizations

ULE 880 - Sustainability for
Manufacturing Organizations

UL Environment, in partnership with GreenBiz Group, published Interim Sustainability Requirements under the title ULE ISR 880, its first organization-wide sustainability standard that sets requirements to evaluate the sustainability of manufacturing organizations. The document is open for public comment through April 2011. Simultaneously, UL Environment will also launch a pilot program to lay the groundwork for a certification program that evaluates corporate sustainability activities and performance to the standard being released later this year. ULE 880: Sustainability for Manufacturing Organizations will be published after the public comment period ends.

Read project backgrounder here.

ULE GreenBiz
ULE ISR 880 defines core sustainability metrics for manufacturing businesses within the following five domains:
  • Sustainability Governance: including sustainability strategic planning, board oversight, internal stakeholder engagement, ethics policies, and creating the infrastructure and fostering the behaviors that create a culture of sustainability
  • Environment: including product stewardship, sustainable resource use, environmental management systems, energy efficiency and carbon management, materials optimization, facilities and land use, habitat restoration, and waste prevention
  • Work Force: including professional development, workplace integrity, employee satisfaction and retention, workplace safety, and employee health and well-being
  • Customers and Suppliers: including fair marketing practices, product safety, customer support and complaint resolution, and sustainable supply chain management, monitoring and improvement
  • Community Engagement and Human Rights: including community impact assessment, community investment, and human rights issues
Each domain includes prerequisites, core indicators, and leadership indicators, for a total of 1,000 possible points across all domains. Additional innovation points are available to recognize exceptional performance beyond these requirements. Organizations that demonstrate leadership performance against the standard's metrics will be recognized through a third-party verification process. We anticipate that there will be multiple levels of certification, reflecting increasingly higher levels of achievement.

Project History

In late 2009, UL Environment engaged with GreenBiz Group, a leader in corporate sustainability media, corporate sustainability leadership and reporting, to develop ULE 880: Sustainability for Manufacturing Organizations. This standard is also a response to the following convergence of issues:
  • The opportunities for business and organizations to increase the value of their operations by being seen as operating is a sustainable manner;
  • The difficult social conditions and environmental degradation facing the world, and the growing need for companies to manage these ‘externalities' directly;
  • The confusion about what it means to be a sustainable business;
  • The demand for standardized indicators across the spectrum of sustainability issues in recent years;
  • The need for well-established procedures for the independent auditing of sustainability practices, particularly in light of increasing calls for transparency and
  • integrated financial and sustainability reporting.
Over the past year, the UL Environment-GreenBiz team conducted research into appropriate requirements and secured more than 1,500 comments through a collaborative and open stakeholder process over the summer of 2010. More recently, the team convened a range of interested parties on a Stakeholder Advisory Panel to provide input to refine the requirements further. The resulting requirements distill the best thinking on organizational sustainability into a single standard that will help companies and their customers understand what it takes to become a more sustainable corporate citizen.

Download the Response Paper to Stakeholder Comments on ULE 880 here (PDF).

Next Steps

ULE and GreenBiz Group are seeking participation from a broad cross-section of stakeholders affected by or interested in the implementation of this standard, including manufacturers, assessment and standards organizations, regulators, policy makers, procurement officers, sustainability professionals, the socially responsible investing community, and non-profit and for-profit sustainability interest groups.
Those interested in becoming a pilot company and/or in participating in the open comment period should send the following information to
    Organization's name
    Job title (if applicable)
    Mailing address
    Phone number
    Email address
Account information and UL CSDS activation instructions will be provided upon receipt of a request to participate.
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