Association Report, AHAM: Ahead of the Curve: Sustainability Standard
Exactly two years ago, my Association Report focused on Sustainability and the new role that AHAM had assumed. At that point, AHAM’s members and its Board had just given the nod to the development of appliance sustainability standards for selection and comparison of environmentally responsible products.
I am pleased to provide this update since AHAM 7001/CSA SPE 7001/UL 7001-2012, the Sustainability standard for refrigeration products, was published less than four months ago. The Portable and Floor Care Sustainability standards covering more than 70 products is nearing publication and several other standards soon will follow.
This groundbreaking, strategic two-year effort would not have been possible without the dedication of AHAM Sustainability Task Force members and our partners CSA Standards and UL Environment. We have also greatly benefitted from the credibility and expertise of Five Winds International, a global sustainability firm.
The series of Sustainability metrics that AHAM is developing will become nationally accredited standards in the U.S. and Canada, and have already been subject to the critical input of a wide variety of external stakeholders including retailers, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, environmental advocates and others.
The standards are credible and compatible with government and retailer initiatives. In fact, in September AHAM presented its Sustainability program to many leading industry retailers at the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) sustainability conference. The reaction was very positive and our work is respected; but it is also clear that AHAM is ahead of the curve with these standards.
We know that there is still a lot of buzz about sustainability, but perhaps in light of the sluggish economy, retailers are still assembling their internal plans for requiring sustainability metrics and introducing this concept to consumers. While we wait for the tipping point, the pivotal point where retailers require sustainability metrics and measurements from its customers, AHAM will continue to build its fleet of measurement tools and work with partners on a conformity assessment program.
Long term maintenance of and responsibility for our environmental resources have long been values of the home appliance industry and the development of these important standards are just the first step. While the standards provide the framework for a common measurement tool, AHAM is also developing a common rating scale and conformity assessment program.
Working with testing agencies as partners, AHAM will extend its sustainability brand to the marketplace. AHAM’s program will support companies who wish to have third-party certification to the AHAM/UL/CSA standards. The common rating scale will ensure all appliances certified under the AHAM program are rated uniformly and to the same scale and will offer levels of achievement for those that wish to tout their product’s environmental profile.
This exciting development in the next chapter of AHAM’s role in sustainability is still unfolding and we will keep appliance DESIGN readers up to date on our progress.
Sustainability Standard for Household Refrigeration Appliances
The Standard covers two-phase refrigerant compression-type refrigeration appliances for household and includes the following product categories:
Chest and upright freezers; and
Compact refrigerators/compact freezers.
Throughout the standards development process, a cross-section of stakeholders, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Environment Canada, The Sustainability Consortium, Consumer’s Union and retailers such as Sears, Best Buy, and Lowe’s and environmental groups including the Carbon Disclosure Project were engaged to ensure that the standard is credible and compatible with existing government and retailer initiatives. Next to come: Portable and Floor Care Sustainability standards.