Sustainability Certification Process

The following basic steps must be completed in order to achieve WQA's Sustainability Certification.

(1) Initial Inquiry: Please contact Stuart Mann, MWS, Sustainability Certification Supervisor at (630) 929-2546, to begin the process. So that a price quote can be generated to fit the scope of your needs, please share the number of products you wish to have certified (and whether those products are already certified with the WQA Gold Seal Program for safety/performance) plus the number and location of facilities where the candidate products are produced (and whether those facilities are already ISO 14001 certified - in order to receive maximum discounting). In order to qualify for the Sustainability Certification, products must first be certified to the applicable Gold Seal safety/performance standard.

(2) Application: Once you have decided to proceed with a project, you will be asked to sign a basic Product Certification Agreement and a Proposal Approval Form (PAF) outlining the agreed-upon costs and scope of the project. You will also submit Product Data Sheets that enumerate the model designations to be certified, the facilities where they are made, and any environmental claims that you assert relative to the candidate products.

(3) Company Self-Assessment to the Management and Product Standards/Scorecards: Unlike traditional NSF/ANSI DWTU standards, the WQA Sustainability Standards use a points-based system. This allows the company to choose from a menu of different credit options that best fit their circumstances and sustainability goals.  Each criterion is worth a defined number of points, and there are minimum required points for different sub-sections as well as the standards as a whole. 

WQA will provide you with Appraisal Scorecards for the WQA/ASPE/ANSI S-801 Sustainable Management standard as well as the applicable product standard (WQA/ASPE/ANSI S-802 or WQA/ASPE/ANSI S-803). These scorecards present the standards in graphical (MS Excel) format, in order to facilitate easier calculation of your scoring relative to the standard requirements, and to assist with gap analysis to identify areas that need further attention and pathways to successful conformance. When you have identified enough credits to achieve the minimum threshold necessary to pass the standards, you then submit the Scorecards and all supporting documentation to WQA and move to the next step in the process.

WQA is available for consultations online or in person to help you understand what actions or activities are specifically required for the different credits and exactly what sort of documentation is required to support these claims.

(4) Desktop Review of Scorecards and Supporting Documentation: WQA will perform a desktop review of the scorecards and supporting documentation in order to determine if there is enough evidence to proceed with an on-site audit. Some credits will be formally approved via the desktop review, while other credits may be provisionally approved pending the on-site audit to verify implementation or further documentation of the credits claimed.

(5) On-Site Audit of Scorecards and Facilities: WQA will proceed to an on-site audit of all production facilities in order to confirm implementation of programs and practices that are claimed in the Self-Assessment and examine further documentation that is not amenable to desktop review.  An offical determination will be made as to the final score for the product and management standards, and this will be communicated to the company via a Final Audit Letter.

(6) Literature Review: The Sustainability Certification Mark will be required to be displayed on most product packaging and therefore all packaging (along with any applicable environmental claims) will be reviewed for conformance to the standard (including the FTC "Green Guide" requirements).  In addition, the Mark may be displayed on a wide variety of additional product literature (as well as the product itself), but any such literature destined to display the Mark must also be reviewed against these same requirements.  All environmental claims must be declared in advance so that proper substantiation can be verified during the above audit/review process.

(7) Certification Attestation and Product Listing: WQA will attest that the production facilities and candidate products meet the standards and issue a certificate of conformance and add the applicable models to our online listings.  The company will then apply the Mark to the applicable products and literature.

No product testing is required for certification to the sustainability standards!

Click here to view a basic certification process flowchart as a PDF.

To request a copy of our Sustainabillity Certification Scheme, please e-mail sustainability@wqa.org with your request.