Malcolm Fox

Malcolm FoxMalcolm Fox

NSF Sustainability

NSF founded The National Center for Sustainability Standards (NCSS) with the mission to support the development of consensus-based sustainability standards. The development of these standards are essential as they can help eliminate……

Visionary companies that integrate sustainability into their products, services and operations can capitalize on the rapidly changing purchasing preferences of industry, government and consumers. Malcolm Fox, Director of Sustainability for NSF International, discusses some of the sustainability services his organization provides to help architects make the world a greener place.

Can you tell me more about NSF International?

NSF International has been certifying products for safety, health and the environment for more than 65 years ( As an independent, not-for-profit organization, our mission is to protect public health and the environment through standards development, inspection, testing and certification of food, water and consumer products. Operating in more than 120 countries, NSF is committed to protecting public health worldwide and is a World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Food and Water Safety and Indoor Environment.

What kinds of sustainability standards has NSF International developed?

NSF founded The National Center for Sustainability Standards (NCSS) with the mission to support the development of consensus-based sustainability standards. The development of these standards are essential as they can help eliminate greenwashing, lower investment risks in new green innovations, and accelerate our transition to a new sustainable economy. NSF works with leading regulators, scientists, engineers, public health and environmental health professionals and industry representatives to develop these standards.

As products with green claims continue to enter the market, independent, third-party certification of products to national standards enables architects, designers, retailers and consumers to make educated decisions when selecting sustainable products. NSF-Certified sustainable products also earn points toward the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certification.

As a leading American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-accredited developer of more than 70 American National Standards that protect public health and the environment, NSF, through the NSF National Center for Sustainability Standards, has developed the following sustainability standards:

  • Commercial Carpets (NSF/ANSI 140)
  • Resilient Flooring (NSF/ANSI 332)
  • Wallcovering Products (NSF/ANSI 342)
  • Sustainable Furniture (BIFMA e3)
  • Greener Chemicals and Processes Information (NSF/GCI 355)
  • Commercial Furnishings Fabric (NSF 336, in process)
  • Dimensional Stone (NSC 373, in process)
  • Single Ply Roofing Membranes (NSF 347, in process)

The NCSS will continue to add to its growing standards portfolio while providing education, outreach, and research and development support to private industry, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises, trade associations, government and academia.

Can you tell me a little more about NSF International’s Sustainability Program?

NSF Sustainability draws upon its expertise in standards development, product assurance and certification, advisory services and quality systems management to help companies green their products and systems.

The NSF Sustainable Product Assurance Program helps eliminate confusion and demonstrate compliance with the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) recently revised Green Guidelines.

The testing and certification program verifies environmental claims, such as water, waste and energy savings, recyclability and nontoxic claims for a number of products. This is important as the FTC continues to crack down on manufacturers of products that claim to be environmentally-friendly without verification.

Verifying a product’s sustainability requires rigorous science and data gathering. NSF International’s chemists, microbiologists, toxicologists and public and environmental health experts evaluate each product to make sure all claims are substantiated, including claim verification for:

  • Green buildings and building materials
  • Sustainable commercial interior products and furnishings
  • Energy- and water-efficient consumer and commercial goods, including ENERGY STAR® and WaterSenseSM
  • Green chemical formulations and products
  • Organic and sustainable food
  • Organic personal care products
  • Recyclable and biodegradable materials
  • Carbon-neutral products

Products certified by NSF Sustainability bear the NSF Certified Sustainable Mark on their product and appear in NSF’s web-based listings.

In addition to sustainable product solutions, NSF helps companies improve the environmental and social performance of their operations and supply chains.

The NSF Sustainable Systems Assurance Program helps organizations improve the environmental and social performance of their sourcing, supply, manufacturing and service delivery practices. NSF is a leading ISO 14001 environmental management systems registrar and is accredited to work in sustainable food, forestry and climate change systems.

NSF also offers four critical advisory services for those companies attempting to integrate sustainability into their operations, systems, and/or business strategies:

  • Sustainable product development – NSF can help companies integrate sustainability into the product design and development plan. This is useful for companies that seek to make existing products green or develop new products with green attributes.
  • Green procurement – NSF works with companies to establish relevant environmental and social criteria that set the standard for the green performance of supplied products. This service allows business or institutional buyers to achieve green procurement goals.
  • Green retailing – NSF will work on behalf of a retailer to deploy a turnkey supplier management program to verify that the goods they buy and sell meet green purchasing criteria. This service helps retailers provide consumers with the green products they seek.
  • Environmental impact and risk assessment – Based on a combination of our data – the largest and most comprehensive database of corporate environmental impacts – and our advanced environmental profiling model, NSF and partner Trucost can help companies measure and reduce the environmental impact of their operations and supply chains.

These services can help support a company’s green strategy, help build green brand equity, provide product differentiation and promote market acceptance. For additional information on NSF Sustainability, visit

Malcolm Fox, Director, NSF Sustainability, NSF International

Malcolm is Sustainability Director at NSF International, an independent, not-for-profit organization with a public health, safety, and environmental mission. Over the past 20 years, Malcolm has held a number of executive, operational, and business development posts whilst helping major manufacturers in North America and Europe navigate their environmental management and governance challenges. Malcolm graduated from the Global Executive MBA program jointly run by London Business School and Columbia Business School, supplementing his undergraduate in chemistry.

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