Press release - 10 September 2011

The British Standards Institution (BSI) has launched a new standard to help manufacturers demonstrate best practice regarding the sustainability of their products.

BS 8905:2011, Framework for the assessment of the sustainable use of materials encourages manufacturers to give due consideration to environmental, social and economic impacts when assessing potential use of materials in their products.

Products with increased sustainability can be defined as those that generate greater positive or lower negative social, environmental and economic impacts along the value chain from producer to end user than conventional products.

Historically manufacturers have based choice of materials on cost and performance, however with growing pressure to demonstrate social, economic and environmental compliance BS 8905 helps companies perform a full sustainability assessment on their potential material choices.
For example a manufacturer in the automotive industry may use BS 8905 to help select materials to comply with the End of Life Vehicles (ELVs) Directive, the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive, and the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) regulations.

The standard also takes into consideration the opinions of wider stakeholders to the supply chain, not just the manufacturers. For example, in many cases wider stakeholders will include consumers, meaning this group now have the opportunity to influence the materials that go into the products they buy and use by taking part in the stakeholder consultation.

Early adopters of BS 8905 include global players such as Tata SteelAggregate Industries and Luxus, the UK’s leading plastic recycler. The standard also forms an ideal platform for The Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining to launch a new sustainability policy based on BS 8905 and BS 8900.

“Companies need to be able to determine that the choices they make are the most sustainable possible, and BS 8905 is one of the tools that can enable them to do so when selecting materials for their products,” says Dan Palmer, Head of Market Development, manufacturing and Services at BSI. “This demonstrates once again that standardization, and BSI, can work in partnership with organisations and consumers alike to develop tool that can give enormous benefits to industry, society and the environment.”