NSC 373 Natural Dimension Stone Standard Public Comment period has closed.
NSC 373 Natural Dimension Stone Standard was released for Public Comment between September 12th and November 12th, 2012. Revision 2 of the Standard will be released for a 45-day review period on April 8th, 2013. The purpose of the Sustainability Assessment for Natural Dimension Stone is to recognize sustainability practices in the natural stone industry – practices many members already follow but don’t document or promote. This voluntary standard will eventually give quarries and primary processing plants the ability to certify their operations (and subsequently their stones) as sustainable. Third party verification of conformance to a set of well-defined environmental, ecological, social responsibility and human health metrics will be required. To date, the stone industry has not been able to compete on a level playing field with other industries that already have a standard like this in place such as wood, tile and carpet. Read the Standard draft.
In collaboration with the Natural Stone Council and Ecoform, NSF International (NSF) has convened a Standards Committee for development of an American National Standard for the sustainable development aspects of dimensional stone production. The Standards Committe is reviewing the Public Comments for action in accordance with accepted ANSI criteria. Designated as NSC 373, the Standard is intended to offer the following benefits to the stone industry:
- Establish a set of well-defined environmental and human health metrics recognized by the green building movement as an indicator of leadership sustainability performance.
- Provide an important opportunity to educate key members of the green building movement, government, and environmental advocacy groups about the production of stone products.
- Create a mechanism that rewards natural stone companies that demonstrate environmental leadership through commitment to sustainable operations and continued innovation.
- Proactively address potential stone-related environmental and human health concerns in a multi-stakeholder, science based forum (i.e. radon, dust, etc.).
- Harmonize national and international environmental requirements for stone quarrying and production.
- Encourage transparent chain of custody reporting in support of LEED credits for locally produced materials.
- Create parity between stone and other competitive products covered by existing certification programs.
Quarry and fabrication facility operators have had increasing concerns with the regulatory practices of MSHA, OSHA, EPA and other environmental agencies. Concerns in regards to inconsistent and unpredictable enforcement efforts as well as disproportionate penalties and fines, are adding burdens that negatively affect businesses in the stone industry, particularly given that some regulations were written over 50 years ago. Members of the Natural Stone Council need and want a sensible regulator/operator relationship. This committee was formed to lead the natural stone industry to resolution of a number of common concerns and issues.
More About the Standard
The standard will focus on North American based stone products and operations, but will be developed with the participation and cooperation of the international stone community and will be the basis for expanding to a proposed international-based ISO certification. Criteria will be established defining both environmentally preferable products and stone production operations.
NSF, NSC, and Ecoform sought volunteers for participation on this important Committee. The Committee is a balanced composition of stakeholders including stone industry, government, environmental advocacy, academia, green building and design, and other relevant groups. NSF International has been administering the committee in accordance with its ANSI-accredited standard development process.
The standard is being developed through an ANSI-based multi-stakeholder process, with an eye towards development of an ISO compliant standard with an international scope. The development process involved the creation of a core committee tasked with overseeing the development of draft criteria and performing technical research, and a larger group of stakeholders to review and ultimately approve individual criteria, a points system, implementation and the final standard.
If you or a representative of your organization is interested in joining this effort, please contact Ms. Mindy Costello, Standards Specialist-NSF International at firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-827-6819.
About NSF International
NSF International (www.nsf.org) is well positioned to assist the stone industry in its goals of establishing consensus standards and a sustainability certification program for dimensional stone products. NSF International is a not-for-profit, non-governmental, third-party organization, and has been a leader in standards development, product testing and certification, education, and risk-management for the protection of public health and safety for over 60 years. While focusing on food, water, consumer products, and the indoor environment, NSF develops consensus national standards, provides third-party conformity assessment services, and provides learning opportunities through its Center for Public Health Education while representing the interests of all stakeholders. NSF is widely recognized for its scientific and technical expertise in the health and environmental sciences. Its professional staff includes engineers, chemists, microbiologists, toxicologists, and environmental health professionals with broad experience serving the needs of both public and private organizations.
Ecoform (www.ecoform.com) is the leading technical analysis company in the United States that focuses on the environmental performance of companies and their products and processes. Founded in 2006, but based on the combined 50 year history of its practitioners working through a variety of corporate and university organizations such as The University of Tennessee’s Center for Clean Products, the team brings a unique mix of skills to help your company achieve corporate environmental and social responsibility. Ecoform takes pride in its ability to work confidentially with leading corporations across multiple industry sectors to provide critical information that can be used to shape corporate policy. With Ecoform’s insight your company will be in a position to lower its environmental footprint, enhance its market brand and public perception, and often save valuable financial resources at the same time. Whether you need something as specific as a detailed product Life Cycle Assessment or as general as an overall corporate sustainability report, we can help.