Students propose green standard for manufacturers: report

LONDON, ON, April 20 /CNW/ - A report released by Canadian undergraduate student leaders calls on the manufacturing sector to establish a universal certification framework for sustainable performance.

Entitled "The New Normal: Sustainable Practices your Future Employees will Demand," the report was compiled by the Network for Business Sustainability and captures dozens of recommendations from student participants of IMPACT! The Co-operators Youth Conference for Sustainability Leadership.

"Manufacturing leaders should establish a certification scheme similar to the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program for green buildings," said University of New Brunswick, St. John graduate and entrepreneur, Scott Walton, a participant at the conference. "It would ensure transparency, and standardize practices for sustainability performance in every organization."

The students propose the following practices for organizations in the Manufacturing sector:

    
    -   Design products using life-cycle analysis, which considers the
        product over its entire life (including disposal).
    -   Establish a sustainability certification scheme to obtain
        transparency and standardization for sustainability performance.
    -   Incorporate more green/eco labelling to help consumers make decisions
        about the products they buy and whether they are environmentally
        friendly.
    

"The students have highlighted an important area where leading sustainability practices in the building sector can be transferred to the manufacturing sector," said Professor Robert Klassen of the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario, who participated in the conference. "Standardizing basic measures of environmental performance is a key first step, as well as matching those to customer and public expectations. And certification implies examination of performance by reputable external auditors - which definitely pushes change."

The full report is available on the Network website: www.nbs.net/new_normal and the IMPACT! website: www.impactyouthsustainability.ca/en.

IMPACT! The Co-operators Youth Conference for Sustainability Leadership was a partnership of The Co-operators, the Network for Business Sustainability of the Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario, the University of Guelph, the University of Saskatchewan's Centre for the Study of Co-operatives, Wilfrid Laurier University, The Natural Step Canada, The David Suzuki Foundation and AIESEC.

SOURCE NETWORK FOR BUSINESS SUSTAINABILITY

For further information: For further information: Leonard Sharman, The Co-operators, 1-877-795-7272, ext. 2707; Tom Ewart, Network for Business Sustainability, (519) 661-2111 ext. 80094

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