Mar 19, 2013

Committee on Retail, Regulatory Strategy Established

The Sustainability Steering Committee will establish participation from retailers, regulatory agencies

Water Quality Assn. Sustainability Steering Committee

The Water Quality Assn. (WQA) Sustainability Program will be ready to begin certifying products soon. While some retailers and regulatory agencies have collaborated with WQA by providing outside stakeholder review, WQA would like to recruit more participation from these sectors.

Several retailers, including large corporations like Walmart, Home Depot and Target have developed their own sustainability criteria. These programs are not specific to the water treatment industry. Broad retail programs like this can be overly burdensome to the water treatment industry, while not addressing the primary environmental challenges the industry faces.

The retail operators of these programs also are not accredited for making product specific evaluations and, therefore, are not required to implement independent oversight mechanisms. The water quality industry is not a big player in the overall retail market. Engaging these retailers directly may be the only way to ensure that manufacturing concerns from our industry are taken into account.

Finally, multiple sustainability programs that attempt to evaluate the same industry from different angles will be confusing to regulatory agencies, manufacturers and consumers alike.

For all of these reasons, WQA is establishing a Sustainability Steering Committee on Retail and Regulatory Strategy to guide the association's activities in establishing more participation from retailers and regulatory agencies. The long-term goal is to encourage these entities to recognize and participate in the WQA Sustainability Program for water treatment products on an ongoing basis. On the retail front, this will help WQA members by making registration with these retailers easier. On the regulatory front, this will lead to recognition by regulatory agencies of the efforts the water treatment industry is making in the area of sustainability, which will make it less likely that agencies will attempt further regulation of our industry and potentially create preferred purchasing opportunities on government contracts.

If you would like to be considered for participation on this committee, contact Eric Yeggy.