The Natural Stone Council (NSC) announced recently that it is working with Ecoform, an environmental analysis firm, and NSF International, an accredited standards development organization, to develop a sustainability standard for natural stone products.

• 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.

The NSC standard will be developed under the American National Standard Institute’s (ANSI) Essential Requirements for adoption as an ANSI Standard. NSF International will be administering the process for NSC. The ANSI Standard development process ensures that the standard is developed in a balanced, open and collaborative manner with participation from multiple stakeholders to avoid potential conflicts of interest. A consensus committee made up of public agency officials, academics, non-governmental agencies, industry leaders and product users helps develop and vote on the standard, while a group of subject matter experts provides insight and guidance. Subsequent mandatory public comment periods allow individual stakeholders and organizations to participate in the development process. The standard is expected to be completed in early spring of 2012.

NSF International, an independent, not-for-profit organization certifies products and writes standards for food, water and consumer goods to minimize adverse health effects and protect the environment, and more information can be found at Founded in 1944, NSF is committed to protecting human health and safety worldwide and operates in more than 120 countries. NSF is a World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Food and Water Safety and Indoor Environment.