Pilot Assessment Questions & Answers

The questions and answers below were developed from a discussion on a May 19, 2016 webinar to the standards and ecolabels community. The presentation shared on that webinar is also available. 

  • Question: Will those organizations that have volunteered standards and ecolabels to be assessed have the opportunity to review and comment on the results of the assessment? If the Independent Assessment Entity (IAE) says “no we don’t think you’ve met a certain criterion,” is there an opportunity for some further discussion? 
    • Answer: Yes. Organizations will be provided a brief opportunity to review and comment on the IAE’s assessment of their standard/ecolabel.  Any dissenting or clarifying comments on that assessment will be included in the IAE final report to EPA, and will be considered in EPA’s final determination.  
  • Question: If the goal is to identify improvements to the criteria, how can the results of the pilot assessment be used for procurement policy (if standards are tested against criteria that would then be outdated)?

    • Answer: It is our expectation that the pilot criteria and assessments will be robust enough to inform EPA’s recommendations per the EO.  However, EPA will consider if/how to adjust the IAE findings in-line with adjustments to the criteria resulting from the pilot, based on feedback from the Pilot Governance Committee and Panels.
  • Question: If a standard/ecolabel doesn’t volunteer to be assessed, are they then precluded from being considered for federal procurement?
    • Answer: Standards or ecolabels that have not been assessed and/or do not meet EPA’s criteria will not be recommended by EPA for federal environmentally preferable purchasing under EO 13693 Section 3(i)(iii).  Standards and ecolabels not recommended by EPA are not precluded from federal procurement.  However, federal procurement officials are directed to give preference to those products and services conforming to standards and ecolabels that are recommended by EPA, and agencies will begin to report their compliance to this and other sustainable acquisition provisions via the Office of Management and Budget Sustainability Scorecard in July 2016.   See EO 13693 Implementing Instructions p56-57 for more information, including agency flexibilities.
  • Question: Are you anticipating that at some point the federal government would charge an assessment fee to ecolabel and standards organizations that want to be considered for Recommendation? 
    • Answer: EPA would not have the authority to directly collect fees for assessments.  However, there are a variety of approaches and business models that are being considered.  One of those models includes having outside organization(s), not under contract to EPA, conduct the conformity assessments using the EPA criteria to inform an EPA recommendation for environmentally preferable purchasing.  Under that scenario, those organizations could potentially charge a fee for the assessments. The Governance Committee will be providing feedback on this and other potential models.
  • Question: Will the Pilot Program be disseminated to the public in any way?
    • Answer: The Recommendations and criteria are/will be available on EPA’s public website. 

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