The GreenGuard Environmental Institute (GEI) has achieved ISO/IEC Guide 65:1996 accreditation-the endorsement of a product certification program as developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

ISO-Guide 65 specifies requirements for bodies that operate third-party certifications of products to ensure that those bodies conduct their certification processes in an impartial, reliable, and consistent manner. Conformity to these standards provides assurance that a certification program is of high quality, integrity, and competency, and that it is free of any conflicts of interest, such as financial, commercial, or social influences.

“The GreenGuard Environmental Institute has always stressed the importance of third-party certification as a means of validating the credibility of a product, service, or organization,” says Henning Bloech, executive director of GEI. “We find it so important, in fact, that we voluntarily subjected ourselves to rigorous third-party inspection to ensure not only that we’re performing up to the highest quality standards, but also that we’ve evaluated every potential conflict of interest. Achieving ISO Guide 65 accreditation confirms that GEI operates fairly and objectively.”

In addition, as part of its “commitment to transparency, fairness, and objectivity,” GEI says it will go above and beyond the requirements of ISO Guide 65 by submitting all procedural documentation for every new certification to The Epsten Group, Inc., a consulting firm, for independent review and analysis. “This provides an extra level of checks-and-balances to ensure that GEI’s certification processes are carried out appropriately,” adds GEI.

“Subjecting ourselves to additional scrutiny by a third-party reviewer demonstrates that we’re willing to go the extra mile and practice what we preach,” says Dr. Marilyn Black, founder of GEI. “We’re not just talking the talk; we’re walking the walk.”

According to GEI, the ISO Guide 65 accreditation is especially important at a time when multiple “green labels and certifications (some of which have prompted civil law suits against product manufacturers, as well as intervention by the Federal Trade Commission) are flooding the marketplace.” Dr. Black added that, “Consumers need to know who to trust. We’re pulling out all the stops so that people know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that they can trust the GreenGuard Environmental Institute.”

For more information about the ISO, visit www.iso.org .