Environmental Innovation Revision – Call for Public Comment

Environmental Innovation Revision – Call for Public Comment

Green Seal invites our stakeholder community to participate in a public comment process: we request your input and comments on the proposed revisions to the GS-20 Standard for Environmental Innovation Edition 2.0. Green Seal is proposing key revisions to the Innovation Standard to both quantify health and environmental impact reductions and expand the program’s ability to promote market transformation.

About Environmental Innovation 

Green Seal’s Environmental Innovation Standard (GS-20) provides a framework for the certification of environmental innovations in any product category. 

Earning certification under this standard demonstrates that a nonprofit authority has verified the innovative health or environmental aspect of a product and confirmed the innovation significantly reduces impacts compared to products of the same functional class. 

Overview of Proposed Revisions

Recognizing Leadership Above and Beyond Existing Product Category Standards:

  • Existing Requirement:  Certification to an existing Green Seal standard, if one exists.

  • Proposed Update: No longer requiring certification to an existing Green Seal standard, if one exists, when the product innovation demonstrates impact reduction above the applicable product category standard.

The current standard requires products to first achieve certification to an existing Green Seal product category standard if an applicable one exists. Green Seal is proposing to exempt the applicant’s product from this requirement when it demonstrates health and/or environmental impact reduction above and beyond the applicable standard and when this impact reduction is achieved through product innovation that is the first of its kind in the North American market. 

This change aims to increase the incentive for product innovation to deliver significant health and environmental benefits as it is expected to encourage applications from manufacturers of products that are designed with human health and the environment in mind. This approach is also designed to incentivize advances in industry research that could inform revisions to existing standards.   

Recognizing Innovators Who are First to Market

  • Existing Requirement: First and only on the market with the innovation at the time of certification. 

  • Proposed Update: First on the market with the innovation, even if other products later employed the innovation. 

Green Seal is also modifying the Innovation Standard toexpand opportunities for earning Green Seal certification to products which employ innovations that are new to the market, even if others later also employed the innovation.  This eliminates the requirement that a product is the only one in the market with the innovation at the time of certification, and rewards producers who are the first to raise the bar for environmental innovation in their product categories, even if others followed. This also provides greater value to existing participants by opening the door to longer certification terms. 

Requiring Quantified Health and Environmental Impacts:

  • Existing Pathway for Certification: 1) Reduced Health or Environmental Impact, or 2) Improved Performance. 

  • Proposed Update: Single pathway for Reduced Health or Environmental Impact 

We are proposing that all applicants be required to quantify the health and/or environmental impact reductions of their product innovations, including those that achieve impact reductions through improved functional performance.  Previously, product innovations that achieved impact reductions through improved functional performance demonstrated this through a quantification of the performance improvement, not the health and/or environmental impact reduction. Requiring that applicants quantify the environmental and human health impact reductions associated with improved functional performance ensures manufacturers will identify the meaningful health and environmental improvements achieved by the innovation in order to earn market recognition for them.

Seeking Feedback

Green Seal is seeking your input and comments on this standard revision proposal.  We invite all members of our stakeholder community and the general public to submit comments by email to standards@greenseal.org. Feedback will be accepted through 11:59PM ET on December 16, 2020.