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NSF Publishes New Sustainability Standard for Professional Services Industry

NSF/ANSI 391.1 establishes uniform guidelines for sustainability among professional services providers

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Global public health organization NSF has published the first American National Standard for sustainability in the professional services industry, NSF/ANSI 391.1: General Sustainability Assessment Criteria for Professional Services. The new standard establishes criteria for evaluating the environmental, social and economic impacts of professional services providers, including organizations classified as professional services providers by the U.S. Federal Professional Services Schedule (PSS) or NAICS code 54.

Incorporating a holistic approach to sustainability, NSF/ANSI 391.1 builds on the concept of the “triple bottom line,” which recognizes that long-term sustainability requires attention to environmental, social and economic impacts. Unlike many standards, NSF 391.1 does not simply assess a single attribute of service delivery – like greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions – but instead takes a more holistic view of a professional services company’s business practices.

Organizations can use the new standard to make documented and measurable efforts to improve the environmental, social, economic and supply chain performance of their businesses. Service providers can use NSF/ANSI 391.1 to:

  • Differentiate themselves from competitors by documenting sustainable business practices
  • Meet state and federal procurement guidelines for sustainable services
  • Guide their business practices and sustainability programs

"The NSF/ANSI 391.1 Joint Committee, through NSF and in conjunction with government, non-government and industry organizations, has put a great deal of time and effort into developing a sustainability standard that allows professional services providers to demonstrate their ability to provide products and services in a sustainable manner,” said Jeff Olsen, member of NSF’s Council of Public Health Consultants (CPHC) and chair of the NSF/ANSI 391.1 Joint Committee. “I encourage all professional service providers to embrace this standard as a way of assuring their customers that their claims of sustainability are accurate and fair."

For more information on NSF/ANSI 391.1, please contact Kianda Franklin at or visit NSF’s web page on sustainability standards and protocols.

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In 2019, NSF is celebrating 75 years of protecting and improving human health. The independent, global organization facilitates standards development, and tests and certifies products for the food, water, health sciences, sustainability and consumer goods industries to minimize adverse health effects and protect the environment. Founded in 1944, NSF is committed to protecting human health and safety worldwide. With operations in more than 175 countries, NSF is a Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Center on Food Safety, Water Quality and Indoor Environment.

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