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Free Online Tool Helps Manufacturers Assess Sustainability Efforts

UL Environment, the environmental services unit of Underwriters Laboratories, has launched a free web-based tool to help manufacturers assess their corporate sustainability efforts.

The online self-assessment tool is the latest component of the UL’s Sustainability Quotient Program, a system of auditable standards created last year to assess, rate and certify sustainability at the enterprise level. Last December, the SQ program released its first standard, UL 880: Sustainability for Manufacturing Organizations. Another standard, UL 881: Sustainability for Service Sector Organizations, is in development.

The online tool was developed to help companies determine whether they can meet prerequisite and core indicators within the UL 880 standard’s five assessment areas – governance, environment, customers and supply chain, workforce and community engagement, and human rights.

Manufacturers provide basic information about their companies and answer a series of questions based on the indicators. The assessment tool evaluates the manufacturers’ sustainability profiles based on key indicators such as environmental purchasing policies, greenhouse gas reduction targets and sustainable supply chain code of conduct.

The preliminary analysis takes about 20 minutes to complete, according to UL. Companies can then use the results to compare against other organizations that used the tool. Companies that meet the prerequisite and minimum requirements of the core indicators can pursue full SQ certification, or focus area certification based on the different domains.

Several companies including LG Electronics, Intuit and German janitorial and food service supply company Igefa were early adopters of the SQ program. LG Electronics used the UL 880 standard as a benchmark for establishing sustainability initiatives at a South Korean facility.  Intuit used the standard to develop a supplier responsibility policy.

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