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Gauging greenness

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“There isn’t yet a great global metric for how green a company is or how green a product is,” says Dave Sherman, Rogers Corp. “Being greener is really hard to measure, but I’ve always felt you know when you’re doing better than you used to.”

Several third-party sustainability certifications exist, ranging from a narrow to broad focus. Among them are bluesign®, MBDC Cradle to Cradle®, EU Ecolabel, International Organization for Standardization, Oeko-Tex®, and the Greenguard Environmental Institute.

Underscoring the scope of sustainability considerations, the Association of Contract Textiles’ new NSF 336 Sustainability Standard features metrics for chemistry, water and energy use, wastewater, air emissions, recycled content, renewability of the fiber and social accountability.

“It’s a holistic standard,” says John Gant, Glen Raven Inc. “And without doubt the most broad and most difficult that I’m aware of for any kind of fabric.”

Shelby Gonzalez is a freelance writer based in Duluth, Minn.

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