Good Environmental Choice Australia is gearing up to release the new GECA 2010 suite of environmental product standards for the building industry. This new series of GECA standards will make it easier for specifiers to select products that are better environmental performers.
The GECA 2010 suite of standards has been created in close consultation with a broad range of stakeholders, including scientists and other experts. The objective of each standard is to incorporate globally competitive benchmarks to help measure the environmental performance of Australian products, and to reward audited products that achieve best practice performance and above.
The standards that will be released are:
• GECA 28 – Furniture and Fittings 2010;
• GECA 50 – Carpets 2010;
• GECA 04 – Panel Boards 2010; and
• GECA 25 – Floor Coverings 2010.
The GECA 2010 suite of standards will continue our clear-cut, ‘all boxes must be ticked’ approach. GECA offers a single, platinum level performance certification. This means that environmental criteria cannot be cherry picked through a system of alternative tiered certifications (e.g. bronze, silver, gold). According to GECA’s Standards Manager, “A product is either less damaging to the environment than its competitors, or it is not. We’re seeking to certify the products that are independently assessed as ‘best in class’”.
The new standards offer clear and transparent benchmarks that all products within a product category must meet; this allows all products within a product category, to be assessed on an equal basis.
Each standard also includes a new ‘evidence list’ section to help the audit processes be clearer and more transparent, reducing uncertainty and therefore the overall cost of the certification process. We are also continuing our transition to multiple JAS-ANZ accredited auditors by March 2011.
Some of the features of products certified by GECA under the new suite of standards include: environmentally preferable sourcing; low toxicity; lower greenhouse footprint, low indoor environmental air and water emissions; design for disassembly; an anti-greenwash commitment; and product stewardship.
Like all of our standards, the 2010 suite will be publically available for download, and anyone can provide feedback on the standards. All of our standards are created in accordance with international guidelines for environmental declarations.
The standards seek to recognise recent product innovations with respect to manufacturing efficiency, lower greenhouse and hazardous substance emissions, safer materials, increases in recycled content, and sourcing of alternative materials. This means that the products we certify will have an even lower environmental impact and be even safer for both humans and the environment. The standards also introduce new antigreenwash requirements for claims made beyond the scope of our independently assessed certifications.