NSF International’s P391 sustainability assessment protocol for services and service providers evaluates and certifies the sustainable practices of service-based organizations

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — NSF Sustainability, a division of global independent public health organization NSF International, has certified ergonomics company Humantech to the Gold level of the sustainability assessment protocol for services and service providers, NSF P391: General Sustainability Assessment Criteria for Services and Service Providers.

Based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Humantech helps improve the lives of the working population by providing ergonomics services in program management, training, workplace assessments, engineering and ergonomic design services, and software solutions. As the first ergonomics company to earn certification to NSF P391, Humantech is able to differentiate its services and pursue preferred vendor status with organizations seeking more sustainable operating solutions. This includes Fortune 500 clients where procurement managers recognize the value of sustainability certification.

While a number of protocols and standards have been developed to define what constitutes a sustainable product, NSF P391: General Sustainability Assessment Criteria for Services and Service Providers is the first protocol to define what constitutes sustainable services.   The General Services Administration (GSA) has shown support for this protocol by appointing representatives to serve on a joint committee that is developing an American National Standard (ANSI) based on the protocol.

“Certification to NSF P391 provides a valuable framework for continual improvement with regards to sustainability,” said Tom Bruursema, General Manager of NSF International’s Sustainability programs. “After meeting all of the prerequisites in the standard such as having sound policies that guide ethics, human health and welfare and general working conditions, Humantech has gone above and beyond the basic requirements of the standard to earn a Gold level rating. As innovation takes place and as Humantech finds new ways to implement sustainability principles, its certification will continue to improve its business practices and provide value to its customers through systematically reducing waste, energy, water and other natural resource use.”

“Fortune 500 companies, which constitute the majority of our client base, are increasingly committed to sustainability, and expect the same from their suppliers,” said James Good, President of Humantech.  “In fact, 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies are members of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and 88 of the Fortune 100 companies use the USGBC’s green building rating system. Sustainable business practices have shifted from market differentiation to expectation and this certification helps us demonstrate our commitment to sustainability and continuous improvement.”

How NSF P391 Certification Works

NSF International provides certification to the new NSF P391 protocol through its Sustainability Division. NSF Sustainability helps companies develop standardized, objective methods of measuring sustainability that instill marketplace confidence and promote acceptance of more sustainable products and services. The purpose of this protocol is to provide a set of general sustainability criteria for use in the acquisition or provision of sustainable services.

Based on life cycle assessment and sustainability principles that measure the environmental and societal impacts of an operation, NSF P391 evaluates the sustainability of a service provider in three key areas:

  • Environment impact – energy use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions
  • Labor impact – health and safety, employment practices
  • Social responsibility impact – community assessment

Organizations can earn NSF P391 certification at the Conformant, Silver, Gold or Platinum levels. Once certified, service providers are authorized to use the NSF Sustainability Certified mark in their advertising and marketing, helping quickly communicate their credibility as a sustainable services provider to government agencies and prospective customers. Monitoring and periodic reevaluation are required to maintain certification.

Developed through NSF International’s National Center for Sustainability Standards (NCSS), the NSF P391 Sustainability Assessment Criteria for Services and Service Providers protocol was established through a consensus-based process that included input from an expert panel of service providers, suppliers, regulatory agencies, environmental organizations and end users. The NCSS has also developed sustainability standards through this consensus-based process for a wide range of product categories, including chemicals, commercial furnishings, flooring, building products and materials, and water treatment and distribution systems.

For more information on NSF P391 and NSF Sustainability services, visit nsfsustainability.org or contact Jamie Bush sustainability@nsf.org.  To purchase a copy of the protocol, visit the NSF International Book Store.

Editor’s note: To schedule an interview with NSF Sustainability General Manager Tom Bruursema, contact Greta Houlahan at 734-913-5723 or media@nsf.org.

About NSF International: NSF International is an independent global organization that writes standards, and tests and certifies products for the construction, food, water, health sciences and consumer goods industries to minimize adverse health effects and protect the environment (nsf.org). Founded in 1944, NSF is committed to protecting human health and safety worldwide. Operating in more than 155 countries, NSF International is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and is a Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization Collaborating Center on Food Safety, Water Quality and Indoor Environment.

NSF Sustainability draws upon this expertise in standards development, product assurance and certification, advisory services and quality management systems to help companies create more sustainable products, operations, systems and supply chains. Additional NSF services include Education and Training, safety audits for the food and water industries, nutritional/dietary supplement certification, analytical testing, training and education for health sciences industries, organic certification provided by QAI (Quality Assurance International) and management systems registrations delivered through NSF International Strategic Registrations (NSF-ISR). NSF-ISR services include ISO 14001 environmental management systems registration and Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) certification.