Over the years, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has established standards referenced in many national sustainability initiatives. In particular, the ISO 14001 (environmental management) standard and ISO 50001 (energy management) standard are commonly referenced by manufacturers, certifiers, and standards developers. These standards, in conjunction with the ISO 14020 series (environmental labels and declarations) and ISO 14040 series (life cycle assessments), provide a valuable general framework for sustainability.
While general ISO criteria have been developed, specific product standards for tile have only been developed by national standards development bodies based on the demands of their respective marketplaces. For example, Green Squared®, though applicable to products no matter where in the world they are produced, is a North American standard developed to meet the sustainability needs of the North American marketplace. In Europe, the EU Ecolabel standard was developed by the European Commission to service the needs, many of which are regulatory, of EU procurement directives.
With several tile industry sustainability standards already developed by national bodies worldwide – and given the existence of several international reference documents already used in the evaluation of general product sustainability – the tile industry's ISO Technical Committee (ISO/TC 189) is looking into the development of an international specification for sustainable tile products.
While it is understandably difficult to combine social and environmental regulations and norms of multiple countries, an international sustainability standard would help unify the global industry and facilitate international trade. In other words, the aim is to speak a common language worldwide regarding product sustainability. Many elements of Green Squared® are being considered for inclusion in an international sustainability standard.
As this effort moves forward, TCNA will continue to represent the North American tile industry and facilitate understanding of Green Squared® on the global scene. Be on the lookout as this initiative gains exposure in the years ahead.
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