Specifying Certified Stone: Reaching sustainability goals with environmentally responsible materials

Figure 2: To achieve certification, companies must achieve points in numerous areas of stone production, including energy usage and conservation.

Rigorous process
When stone companies seek ANSI/NSC 373 certification, a third party such as NSF International supervises the rigorous certification process. The first step is a document review, followed by an onsite audit. A desk audit is verified by the site audit prior to the administration of certification. In order to achieve certification, companies must achieve points in numerous areas of stone production (Figure 2), which include:

  • water usage and recycling;
  • custody and transportation of the stone;
  • site and plant management;
  • land reclamation and adaptive use;
  • corporate governance;
  • energy usage and conservation;
  • management of excess process materials and waste;
  • safer chemical and materials management;
  • worker health and safety; and
  • optional innovation credits.

In each of these categories, companies earn points toward achieving a Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum level certification. Credits required for each level are as follows:

  • Bronze: all required criteria for each facility operator;
  • Silver: all required criteria and a minimum of 8 points;
  • Gold: all required criteria and minimum of 15 points; and
  • Platinum: All required criteria and minimum of 22 points.

Additionally, the certification is site-specific—companies with multiple quarries must have each location evaluated separately. As a continuous improvement program, recertification takes place every three years. The second and third years of certification include a surveillance review with a documentation review only, and the fourth year involves an onsite audit in addition to the documentation review for recertification. Companies can upgrade to a higher level of certification at any time.

The standard also includes a companion Chain of Custody (COC) program to further elevate the process. Like ANSI/NSC 373 certification, Chain of Custody certification is carried out by accredited certification bodies verifying compliance. NSC COC traces the stone as it travels from the quarry to processing and through the supply chain and, ultimately, to its journey’s end. Each organization handling the stone at each step along the way must be COC-certified for the stone to retain certification.

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