The idea of sick buildings is not new, but did you know the actual products used to fit out and design your workplace could be making you sick? Australian businesses lose up to $28 billion annually in lost production and wages due to employee ill health, however, what is largely unknown is that toxic ingredients hidden in products used in workplace buildings are a significant culprit of workplace sickness, according to a Brisbane based ecolabel, who this week unveiled a radical certification tool that is finally going to start disclosing risks and hazards in products used in workplaces and, in Australian homes too.
Launching the new Product Health Declaration™ or PhD tool in Sydney at Total Facilities, 2017, Global GreenTag International was joined by sustainability specialist and Sky TV’s Smart Money Host Jon Dee to outline to building industry delegates the importance of the new tool as the first of its kind that will demand transparency of product claims to a level that’s not been seen anywhere in the world.
David Baggs, CEO and Technical Director of Global GreenTag explained how “Product toxicity in buildings is a very real cause behind a range of human health problems – even to unborn babies – including cancer, hormone disruption, asthma, allergies, chronic fatigue and many other toxicity related illnesses … however, it has been proven in a variety of studies including a workplace study by Sustainability Victoria of their own green office refurbishment that offices retrofitted with a range of strategies including low toxicity products, resulted in sick leave reducing by 30% and productivity went up an extraordinary 45%.” A PhD certification, he says:
- Supports product manufacturers “doing the right thing” who are prepared to disclose toxicity information.
- Reduces risks for building professionals to confidently make distinctions between products that are safer for human health and those that are not and, make it easier to communicate health related product decisions to clients/and building occupiers.
- Respects the rise up of conscious consumers, who studies show want healthier choices and greater access to more authentic product information, which they can trust because “Absolute transparency brings total peace of mind”.
For the green building movement, GreenTag’s PhD will be working hand in hand with building rating schemes like the Green Building Council of Australia’s Green Star tools; as well as WELL, LEED, Living Building Challenge , One Planet Living and BREEAM.
Jorge Chapa, Head of Market Transformation at the Green Building Council of Australia said: “When most people spend 90 per cent of their time indoors, there is a huge potential for our buildings – and the products within them – to positively influence the health and wellbeing of occupants. We support innovative approaches, like the PhD Product Heath Declaration, that can accelerate market transformation.”
More about Global GreenTag International
Global GreenTag certifies over 1600 products globally and its Certification standards are recognised in Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, South Africa, Africa and SE Asia and in over 70 other countries. GreenTag is also the only sustainable building product related Certification Mark scheme approved in Australia by the ACCC.
It’s not the first time that Global GreenTag has led in development of new practices in the product certification field. Founded in 2011, the company became the first ecolabel in the world to introduce Life Cycle Assessment and Beyond LCA thinking to ecolabelling certification processes and provide a ‘Net Positive’ benefit analysis to certify and rate products for green buildings and interiors.
GreenTag has subsequently become a trusted certification mark behind some of world’s most iconic brands, including Interface, Polyflor, Laminex, Tontine, Dunlop, Knauf, Armstrong, Tarkett, Vertilux, Verosol, BASF, DuPont, CSR, Herman Miller, Schiavello, and many more.
Introduction of the GreenTag PhD also follows the label’s recent International recognition as an externally certified ISO 9001 organisation, ISO 17065 compliant conformance assessment body and ISO 14024 compliant ecolabelling program.
The new PhD program will be an addition to the existing stable of Global GreenTagCertTM services that include Product Ratings, Certification Marks and Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) that are based on the newly released and US harmonised Global GreenTag International Standard v.4.
In 2015 and 2016, Australia’s ‘Architecture and Design’ and ‘Infolink’ readers voted Global GreenTag as one of Australia’s Top 100 Most Trusted Brands. In 2016, GreenTag was the only ecolabel in Australia to feature in the top 100 most trusted brands. A total of 22 companies and brands – certified or under certification with GreenTag – won positions in the 2016 readers’ readers’ poll, including first place overall for GreenTag manufacturer – Weathertex.
Global GreenTagCertTM operates under the following international standards
• Externally certified to ISO 9001 for Quality Management
• Externally verified as compliant to:
• ISO 14024 for Type 1 (Third Party) Ecolabels and
• ISO 17065 for Conformance Assessment Bodies
• Certification is compliant to ISO 14040 & ISO 14044 for LCA
• ISO 14067 for Greenhouse Gas calculation
• ISO 14025 for Environmental Product Declarations and
• ISO 21930 and EN 15804 for specific need EPDs
• Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and US Trade Marks & Patents Office Approved Certification Mark.