US EPA guidelines recognise ENCZ specifications
Kiwi paint and floor-covering manufacturers licensed by Environmental Choice New Zealand (ECNZ) will find it easier to crack markets in the US in 2017.
This follows the acceptance this month (subs: January 2017) of ECNZ specifications for Paints and Synthetic Carpets by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as part of the EPA’s Recommendations of Specifications, Standards, and Ecolabels for US Federal Government procurement.
ECNZ General Manager Francesca Lipscombe says the decision could well open up “very lucrative opportunities” for those New Zealand paint and carpet producers eyeing the huge government procurement market in the US. “It’s a fantastic break for our licensees.”
Francesca says the chance to gain acceptance came almost out of the blue. “It was a pilot study where the EPA called for international ecolabels to submit documentation on their criteria in a small number of areas, including paint and flooring. It was a lengthy process – they required a lot of paperwork – but the EPA assessed our specifications thoroughly and deemed them to meet the requirements.”
The EPA is also likely to invite specification submissions for other categories in future, says Francesca. “So hopefully we can open up more opportunities for our licensees.
Currently there are four New Zealand paint manufacturers who have products that carry the Environmental Choice New Zealand label and the same number in the synthetic carpet market.
The EPA decision has been warmly welcomed by kiwi paint manufacturers Paint Plus Colour Systems whose co-owner John Warman says the news came as a surprise. “But it’s a great enhancement to ECNZ’s credibility – EPA has high visibility around the world.
“We’re still assessing how we might be able to use this in our marketing. We’re mainly focused on the Pacific and the Asian rim, but EPA is an authoritative brand in many countries. This has definitely added to the power of the ecolabel and that can only be good for licensees.”
Francesca says inclusion in the EPA’s Recommendations can’t be promoted as an endorsement of ECNZ’s label or any of the products that come under the ECNZ ecolabel – “it’s simply a statement that the specification meets EPA’s guidelines.
“But it certainly puts these specifications on the map for federal government procurement in the US.”