How should the government promote sustainability standards?

Do you also think there are too many sustainability labels and standards?

The U.S. environmental agency EPA is discussing its role in promoting sustainable product standards – and asks individual stakeholders for comments. One role might indeed be to develop ONE green product standard, as Greenbiz argues, maybe at least for each industry. However, instead developing a voluntary standard, as the blog recomends, I suggest that EPA should consider to make one good standard mandatory.

Here is EPA’s invitation to take part in the process:

EPA is interested in soliciting individual stakeholder input regarding the Agency’s role in the “green” or sustainable products movement. The Agency will consider the information gathered from this notice and other sources as it works to define its role and develop a strategy that identifies how EPA can make a meaningful contribution to the development, manufacture, designation, and use of sustainable products.

More specifically, EPA would appreciate your individual views regarding the following types of questions:
1. What do you see as the major policy and research challenges, opportunities, and trends impacting the development, manufacture, designation, and use of sustainable products?
2. What do you see as EPA’s overall role in addressing these challenges and opportunities?
3. In particular, how do you see EPA’s role in:
• Assembling information and databases.
• Identifying sustainability ‘‘hotspots’’ and setting product sustainability priorities.
• Evaluating the multiple impacts of products across their entire life cycle.
• Defining criteria for more sustainable products.
• Generating eco-labels and/or standards.
• Establishing the scientific foundation for these eco-labels and/or standards.
• Verifying that products meet standards.
• Stimulating the market.
• Developing end-of-life management systems (reuse, recycling, etc.).
• Measuring results, evaluating programs.

To my knowledge, in Germany such an open discussion does not exist. So use it and comment until October, 19th.

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