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US EPA guidelines recognise ENCZ specifications

A recognition by the US federal agency could herald " lucrative opportunities."

Staff Reporter
Fri, 03 Feb 2017

A new guideline recognition will help Kiwi paint and floor-covering manufacturers crack US markets in 2017.

In January, the Environmental Choice New Zealand (ECNZ) specifications for paints and synthetic carpets were accepted by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as part of the EPA’s “Recommendations of Specifications, Standards, and Ecolabels” for US federal government procurement.

Environmental Choice New Zealand general manager Francesca Lipscombe says it’s a “fantastic break for licensees” and the decision could allow “ lucrative opportunities” for New Zealand paint and carpet producers planning to enter the huge government procurement market in the US.

She 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 Ms Lipscombe. “So hopefully we can open up more opportunities for our licensees.”

Four New Zealand paint manufacturers have products carrying the ECNZ label, along with the same number in the synthetic carpet market.

The EPA decision is warmly welcomed by paint manufacturer Paint Plus Colour Systems, although 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 Asia rim but EPA is an authoritative brand in many countries. This has definitely added to the power of the ecolabel which can only be good for licensees.”

Ms Lipscombe says EPA inclusion 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.”

Staff Reporter
Fri, 03 Feb 2017
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US EPA guidelines recognise ENCZ specifications