Coinciding with Earth Day 2009, the inaugural meetings of ASTM International Committee E60 on Sustainability covered standards work, an expanded sustainability database, a student liaison subcommittee and more. Ninety-five stakeholders from a range of industries met April 21-23 in Vancouver, British, Columbia, Canada, and discussed best practices for sustainability and the potential to standardize those practices.
“In particular, topics that affected multiple industry sectors were discussed, including packaging and infrastructure,” says Dru Meadows, E60 chair and principal, theGreenTeam Inc., Tulsa, Okla. “E60 committed to researching these topics further and anticipates task groups to facilitate those dialogues within Subcommittee E60.80 on General Sustainability Standards.”
The committee also continued standards development in several areas: a pilot program for a standard classification of environmentally preferable products; revisions to ASTM E2392, Guide for Design of Earthen Wall Building Systems; a draft standard specification for minimum environmental, social and economic requirements for a building that promotes sustainability; and new standards for water stewardship and green roofs. Additional committee activities are detailed below.
Life Cycle Assessment Workshop to Be Held in October
On Sunday, Oct. 18, and Monday, Oct. 19, Committee E60 will host a workshop on life cycle assessment and both its theory and practice. The purpose is to share information on the effective use of LCA methodology in supporting standards development. The workshop will be held during the ASTM October committee week meetings in Atlanta, Ga.
E60 Develops Submission Criteria and Expands Online Sustainability Database
Through new criteria and a new task group, Committee E60 has expanded the scope of its online sustainability database, and it encourages all ASTM committees and outside organizations to submit sustainability-related standards for possible inclusion in the resource.
According to Meadows, the sustainability database fills a void in having one place to gather sustainability standards from both ASTM International and other organizations. “It’s a tremendously powerful resource,” she says. “The framework is there and the commitment is there.”
The new task group will review submitted documents according to established criteria covering whether the standard supports environmental and social sustainability principles, and whether it contributes to efforts to identify, measure, or address financial costs or benefits associated with social and environmental impacts.
The database currently references more than 500 ASTM International standards and more than 300 other standards and programs from organizations involved in sustainability. While the database has primarily focused on building and sustainability, its scope now takes in documents from all industry sectors.
A form to submit standards for consideration for the database can be found at www.astm.org/COMMIT/sustainability.html.
Proposed Standards from New Student Liaison and Affairs Subcommittee
To give a voice to ASTM student members who represent universities around the world, Committee E60 has established Subcommittee E60.95 on Student Liaison and Affairs. Sustainability, notes Meadows, is about managing resources today so that they are available to future generations, and as such, students have a vested interest in the work of the committee. E60 plans to communicate with interested students through the Web and the E60.95 chair’s involvement on the E60 executive subcommittee.
As a result of involvement by students at the Oklahoma State University Environmental Institute, two proposed draft standards — chain of custody for use in marketing claims and extended producer responsibility — are now under consideration for work item registration and balloting before the next E60 meeting.
One of the proposed standards details requirements for establishing a verifiable chain of custody to use in product marketing claims. Intended to apply to all types of claims, the practice applies to two or more stages in a product’s life cycle from acquisition of raw materials, processing and manufacture, to use and end of life.
The second proposed standard, a classification for extended producer responsibility, establishes the minimum environmental characteristics that should be considered when declaring a reclamation program for a product or a product-service system. The document would serve as a reference for analyzing and evaluating reclamation programs.
ASTM International welcomes and encourages participation in the development of its standards. ASTM’s open consensus process, using advanced Internet-based standards development tools, ensures worldwide access for all interested individuals. For more information on becoming an ASTM member, please visit www.astm.org/MEMBERSHIP.
For more information about E60, please contact Dru Meadows, the GreenTeam Inc., Tulsa, Okla. (phone: 918-295-8326; email@example.com) or Steve Mawn, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, Pa. (phone: 610-832-9726; firstname.lastname@example.org).