Sustainability Certification Program


The WQA Sustainability Certification Program is the first of its kind in the drinking water treatment industry. The Sustainability Certification Mark verifies to retailers and consumers that a product has been manufactured according to industry standards for recognized best practices in environmental sustainability and corporate social responsibility. 

The mark is a symbol that represents achievement in the field of sustainability. It supports profitability by helping to identify products as safe for both people and the planet. Once a product has been certified, the company may display the Sustainability Certification Mark on websites, marketing materials, packaging, and the product itself, ensuring that products maintain a competitive edge in the marketplace.

The WQA Sustainability Certification Program is currently the only environmental certification program in the world to earn ANSI accreditation to ISO 17065 and ISO 14024 for Type I Environmental Labeling.  This provides independent, third-party verification that a product is environmentally responsible in all phases of its life cycle: from raw materials, production, distribution, use-phase, all the way through to end-of-life disposal.  View the ANSI listing webpage and certificate for accredited certification programs.

WQA's Sustainability Certification Program offers certification to two primary standardsWQA/ASPE/ANSI S-802: Sustainable Activated Carbon Media for Drinking Water Treatment and WQA/ASPE/ANSI S-803: Sustainable Drinking Water Treatment Systems.

Click here to search for products certified to WQA's sustainability standards.

Benefits of the Sustainability Certification

  • WQA has been recognized for more than 50 years as a leader in the field of product certification for the drinking water treatment industry.

  • By participating in this first-of-its-kind environmental labeling program for the water treatment industry, you can demonstrate leadership in the marketplace on behalf of your company and its products.

  • It allows you to promote your environmental achievements on products and literature to retailers and consumers.

  • It helps your company decrease costs by eliminating waste and inefficiency.

  • It minimizes regulatory and liability risk by eliminating hazards in the workplace and reducing the environmental footprint of your products.

  • The ground-breaking WQA Sustainability Standards were developed through intensive collaboration with manufacturers and sustainability experts.

  • Industry-sponsored voluntary certification programs often preempt the establishment of mandatory, typically more onerous, government regulations.

  • Conducting a Life Cycle Analysis of your products can be costly and time-intensive, but the WQA Sustainability Standards already incorporate elements of a Life Cycle Analysis for your product category, thereby eliminating the need for you to make a separate investment.

  • WQA's points-based standards allow you to pick and choose from a menu of sustainability choices, customizing your efforts to best suit your circumstances and sustainability goals.

  • WQA will guide you through the certification process with personalized consultation, including a resource library of materials. We can provide case-studies on the benefits of embracing sustainability and template environmental policies and reports to help you comply with the requirements of the standards.

Why Sustainability Matters

As concern for the environment moves ever more to the forefront of public and media attention, the water treatment industry has been the subjected to some criticism in this area.  Companies are increasingly concerned about making environmental claims out of fear that they will be accused of "green-washing," which is the practice of making unfounded, misleading, or unsubstantiated environmental claims.

Therefore, in order to meet growing demand on the part of manufacturers, consumers, retailers, regulators, and environmental groups, the WQA members and board directed the proactive development of a voluntary certification program for sustainable water contact products. 

A product is defined as “sustainable” if it meets the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations. These needs are further delineated as encompassing responsibility for the three P's of sustainability

  • People: the safety and welfare of production workers and consumers);
  • Planet: the continuing health of our ecosystems); and 
  • Prosperity: the economic realities that the product must fulfill a need, perform as advertised, and be offered for a competitive price – all of which lead to success in the marketplace.

Clearly, certification to a sustainability standard meets an emerging need in the marketplace.  But what are the costs of implementing the programs and policies that the standards require? The answer may surprise you.

Sustainability is more of a journey than a destination, and embarking on this journey does require some initial investment of resources. However, most sustainability initiatives actually produce a positive return on investment over time. This is because, in practice, sustainability is largely about reducing waste and improving efficiency. Therefore, these efforts usually result in some or all of the following longer-term cost savings, including in raw materials, energy and water consumption, manufacturing/productivity, occupational health and safety, waste disposal, hazards management, regulatory compliance, public relations, and reduced risk (business, liability and regulatory).