ANSI/NSF 342 Sustainability Standard (Does Anybody Really Care?)
Originally Published August 2017
The Wallcoverings Industry invested a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to create and then comply with the above-named standard.
We know, we hired a sustainability professional to bring us into compliance with its requirements. That turned out to be one of the most valuable aspects of the work required.
But first, exactly who is using this standard and what benefit does it deliver? What do compliant, silver and gold attainment levels mean – OK, better and best?
We’ve found very few design professionals who say this is a guide to selecting better materials and besides “now every company is sustainable”. Maybe this standard isn’t adequately transparent to be a tool and perhaps no one really cares.
BUT, to the manufacturers (and distributors) that committed to the analysis of their business practices and processes and (with great difficulty) deconstructed their materials formulations to learn their chemistry, the value was significant. NSF 342 supplied the template for these actions and made us ask ourselves critical questions about how we become more efficient, reduce costs and employ safer chemistries.
Addressing the requirements of NSF 342 has made us a more responsible manufacturer to our community, employees, and definitely our environment. It inspired us to examine every aspect of what we make and how we make it and we believe it was worth the multi-year effort.