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NIST prototypes framework for evaluating sustainability standards
Date:4/27/2011

As manufacturers and other businesses step up efforts to cut waste, reduce energy use and improve the overall sustainability of their products and processes, the number of planet-friendly standards and regulations also is increasing at a rapid clip, creating a sometimes-confusing array of options for "going green." National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) researchers have prototyped a framework to help organizations of all types sort through the welter of choices and evaluate and implement sustainability standards most appropriate for their operations and interests.

The NIST team will unveil their framework for analyzing sustainability standards on May 4 at the 18th CIRP International Conference on Life Cycle Engineering in Braunschweig, Germany.*

Many incentivessome are carrots, others are sticksmotivate businesses to improve their sustainability performance. These range from bottom-line concerns, like cutting costs and reducing scrap, to compliance with regulatory and customer requirements to good corporate citizenship. Whatever the drivers, businesses are boosting their sustainability efforts. In a recent international survey of more than 3,000 business executives and managers, nearly 70 percent said their organizations would increase their investments in sustainability this year.

As they plan and implement their efforts, businesses often implement sustainability standards as best practices. But which ones should they adopt?

"Despite their noble intentions, the ever-growing number of voluntary and regulatory standards related to sustainability makes it difficult to select standards well suited for a particular product line," explains NIST computer scientist Rachuri Sudarsan, lead author of the paper. "Small and medium-size enterprises, in particular, face challenges in identifying the standards that warrant their time and resources."

They need to understand and determine what to measure, how to measur
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Contact: Mark Bello
bello@nist.gov
301-975-3776
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Source:Eurekalert

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