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ISSA Joins With Ecoform to Develop Next Generation of Environmental Labels

October 23, 2009, Lincolnwood, IL, USA—ISSA and Ecoform have come together to develop an information-based environmental label (IBEL) designed specifically for the commercial cleaning industry. “IBEL is an ambitious effort to create the next generation of environmental labels that will complement existing eco-label programs while providing a uniform platform for companies to articulate the environmental attributes for the hundreds of product categories for which eco-label programs do not exist,” said Jack Geibig, Ecoform president.

According to ISSA Legislative Affairs Director Bill Balek, “IBEL will directly benefit purchasers, distributors, and manufacturers by communicating, in a format similar to the food-nutrition label, critical health and environmental information associated with cleaning products. Moreover, IBEL will encourage and reward continuous improvement by innovative manufacturers that produce leadership products.”

Existing eco-label programs have done a wonderful job of encouraging the cleaning industry to transition to products with a preferred environmental and safety-and-health profile. However, current product-certification programs have demonstrated inherent limitations, including, but not limited to, the following:

• Existing standards cover only a limited set of products, leaving hundreds if not thousands of “orphan” products with no options for certification or third-party verification
• Current eco-label programs employ simple pass/fail criteria that do not reward companies for continuous product innovation and further reductions in health and environmental impact
• Many small and medium-sized companies are unable to fully participate in eco-label programs because of the high cost of certification.

IBEL is being developed by Ecoform in collaboration with ISSA. Geibig is leading the development process in cooperation with a Core Development Committee that is composed of key stakeholders, including health and environmental advocates, unions, state and federal government representatives, eco-label organizations, large and small cleaning-product manufacturers, contract cleaners, and institutional purchasers. For a complete list of the members of the Core Development Committee, visit www.issa.com//data/File/regulatory/IBEL%20Fact%20Sheet-FINAL.pdf.

While IBEL is under development, characteristics of this new labeling system will include the following:

• Expands and standardizes the set of health and environmental metrics for product reporting
• Information-based format compliments existing eco-labels and criteria
• Quantitative reporting system rewards continued product innovation, reducing potential health and environmental impacts
• Flexible system expands access to third-party verification to products not currently covered under existing labels, such as tools, equipment, and niche chemical products
• Multiple product verification tiers, up to and including full product verification by third-party verifiers
• IBEL product registry provides unprecedented access to select product data in a searchable, transparent system
• Affordable tiered fee structure expands access to small and medium-sized manufacturers
• Reduced fees for products with existing eco-label certification from recognized programs.

About Ecoform
Ecoform is an organization dedicated to securing a sustainable future through clean product innovation. Ecoform and its president, Jack Geibig, have extensive experience in leading environmental product standards for a wide range of products, including standards for green cleaning chemicals, toys, building products, and consumer electronics.

About ISSA
The leading trade association for the cleaning industry worldwide, ISSA has a membership that includes more than 5,500 distributor, manufacturer, manufacturer representative, building service contractor, in-house service provider, and associated service members. ISSA offers the industry’s largest cleaning shows in conjunction with Amsterdam RAI under the brand name ISSA/INTERCLEAN®, the popular Web site ISSA.com, educational products, industry standards, periodicals, and legislative and regulatory services that specifically focus on the professional cleaning industry.

The association is headquartered in Lincolnwood, IL, USA, with regional offices in Amsterdam, Netherlands; Leicester, United Kingdom; Monterrey, Mexico; Singapore; and Shanghai, China. ISSA also works with more than 75 associations, alliances, and government agencies around the world to represent the cleaning industry. For more information, visit www.issa.com.

CONTACT: Bill Balek, Director of Legislative Affairs
bill@issa.com
Phone: 800-225-4772 (North America) or 847-982-0800

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