Panel and Governance Committee Roles
Panel and Governance Committee (GC) members will be responsible for piloting and offering recommendations on EPA’s proposed Draft Guidelines for Product Environmental Standards and Ecolabels.
Each of the Product Category panels and the Service Sector Panel will include a set of experts, with balanced participation from the following stakeholder groups: Producers, Users, Environmental and Public Health/Regulatory, and the Standards and Ecolabel Community.
The primary role of each of the three product category panels is to work collaboratively with other panel members to develop product-category-specific criteria for evaluating standards and ecolabels (based on the guidelines), consider related issues such as scoring and weighting, and then review conformity assessment results before drafting panel recommendations. In contrast, the primary role of a fourth Service Sector Panel is to help identify key issues and then make preliminary recommendations on the potential future application of the guidelines. All four panels are also expected to receive input from and relay their insights to the Governance Committee, both with respect to the product-category specific application of the guidelines and broader questions about the pilot’s value and potential scalability.
The criteria for Panel membership includes:
- Knowledge of the environmental and/or human health impacts of the particular product category
- Experience working with diverse stakeholders towards consensus
- Familiarity with the draft guidelines and federal sustainable acquisition mandates
- Familiarity with standards development and conformity assessment approaches
- Ability to devote the necessary time to the panel
EPA issued a Federal Register Notice on March 19, 2015 requesting public comment on the panel member criteria.
The GC will include representatives from the panels (one from each of the four panels), elected by the panels, as well as additional individuals who are not Panel members, but instead can focus on the pilot’s broader objectives while adding balance and credibility to the GC.
The primary roles of the Governance Committee (GC) are to: coordinate, guide, and advise the panels; ensure consistency among the panels where appropriate; make recommendations on key pilot phases (e.g., selecting one or more independent assessment entities); give final approval on outcomes and recommendations to be reflected in the Panel Criteria and Assessment reports; add insight and perspective on the pilot’s value, scalability, and other questions on which EPA is seeking input through an overarching Final Pilot Report. As such, the GC will play a key role supporting the pilot’s immediate goals, as well as the potential opportunity to build momentum and leadership beyond the pilot. As part of an ongoing self-sustaining effort, the panels may therefore continue beyond the initial pilot period. GC membership may also involve:
- Helping to envision and potentially engage in a long-term effort to expand application of the guidelines (where deemed valuable) and maintain up-to-date assessments as part of a self-sustaining program.
- Serving as a liaison and helping the pilot effectively reach, and positively impact, key audiences within the pilot’s identified Stakeholder Groups.
In addition to the criteria pertaining to panel members, the criteria for GC membership include:
- Familiarity and experience with several ecolabels and sustainability standards – content, approach, standard development processes, verification processes, etc.
- Ability to contribute to the overall goals of the pilot
- Ability to devote the necessary time to the GC (in addition to time required for panel membership) and willingness to help synthesize and represent panel outcomes