The Natural Stone Council (NSC), a collaborative organization representing business and trade associations that promote stone under the Genuine Stone™ brand, says it will soon launch an industry-wide survey to assess environmental performance in early 2008.

In partnership with the Center for Clean Products at The University of Tennessee (UT), a data collection tool has been developed and will be distributed to U.S. quarries and fabricators in early January. The natural stone industry will be asked to provide information about production processes, energy and water usage, and other components of daily operations that may impact the environment. Once the responses are received in mid-February, a comprehensive analysis of the data will be conducted by UT. The information will be evaluated and will form the basis of a life-cycle analysis of the environmental impacts of certain stone products, the development of strategic sustainability goals for the industry, and a plan for outreach to the environmental and Green Building communities.

“We all know that the green building movement is gaining momentum,” said John Mattke, Co-Chair of the NSC and Chairman of the NSC’s Committee on Sustainability. “We want to ensure that the natural stone industry and our products are properly positioned in this market without ‘green washing’ and making unsubstantiated claims about our products. Our alliance with UT, a well-regarded research organization, underscores our dedication to sound, unbiased analysis rooted in hard data.”

All responses on the survey will be confidential and sent directly back to UT. UT will not be reporting specific responses but rather aggregated information. The survey data is crucial to industry efforts as they identify and quantify the processes and impacts associated with current industry practices and inform the development of management and operational strategies to promote overall improvement. The responses will help to create life-cycle data and assessments of stone compared to other building materials.

For more information on the NSC’s sustainability efforts, please .