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Standard Setting Procedures

Center for Resource Solutions (CRS) serves as the Secretariat for the Green-e programs and is responsible for the implementation of the Green-e Energy National Standard, the Green-e Climate Standard and all future standards.

Development of New Standards

The following procedures must be followed in the development of any new standard.

Advisory Group

To guide the development of new standards, CRS assembles an Advisory Group at the beginning of the standard setting procedure. This group must be composed of a variety of representatives in the fields related to the new standard, such as environmental advocates, policy experts, and standard setting organizations.

Terms of Reference

Before the standard setting process begins, CRS develops a Terms of Reference and posts it on the website. This includes the following:
    Needs Justification Study. CRS staff conducts a study of any current related standards in existence, evaluate their scope and effectiveness, and make an initial determination as to whether a new standard is essential.

    Scope of Work. The Scope of Work defines the objectives of the new standard, describe the end use of the standard, the type and scope, including the geographic and market scope, of the standard, and define the criteria and indicators. This includes an assessment of risks in implementing the standard, and an assessment of how broadly the final standard is intended to be applied.
Any interested party is allowed to comment on the Terms of Reference. The Terms of Reference is also discussed with the Advisory Group, and the Advisory Group makes the final determination as to whether to go forward with development of the new standard. The Terms of Reference is updated during the revision of the standard it applies to, which occurs every five years, or more frequently as necessary.

Stakeholders

At the beginning of a standard setting procedure, CRS forms a stakeholder list by reaching out to existing stakeholders and targeting new groups. Stakeholders include a wide variety of organizations and individuals. All interested parties are welcome to become a stakeholder and submit comments during open comment periods. New stakeholder lists will be formed through public outreach efforts including press releases, coverage in industry press, and outreach to current Green-e and CRS stakeholders. CRS will add anyone who expresses interest to the stakeholder list for each program. Please see the Contact page for the appropriate contact at each program.

Stakeholder Comment Periods

CRS and Green-e strive for consensus-based decision making. CRS holds two 60-day public comment periods in the development of every new standard. Before each comment period begins, CRS staff notifies all identified stakeholders of the upcoming comment period, and provides a standard comment form. Additionally, the Green-e and CRS websites are kept up to date with announcements of stakeholder comment periods and all other pertinent information. At the conclusion of the stakeholder comment period, CRS reviews all stakeholder comments and, in consultation with the Advisory Group as necessary, determines the revisions needed and updates the standard accordingly. All substantive comments received during the stakeholder consultation(s) are taken to the Green-e Governance Board. All final decisions on substantive issues lie with the Green-e Governance Board.

Documentation

CRS posts a written synopsis of each material issue raised during stakeholder comment periods, and how the issue was addressed in draft revisions. All stakeholders and commenters are notified when the synopsis is publicly available. Individual comments are available by request only although information such as commenter name or other sensitive information may be withheld at the discretion of the Secretariat.

Maintenance of Existing Standards

Review of Standards by Stakeholders

All certification programs' standards are reviewed every five years, or more frequently if necessary. CRS holds two 60-day public comment periods for the full review of existing standards. The second comment period can be reduced upon recommendation of the Governance Board to no fewer than 30 days.

For revisions of an existing standard or program details between five year reviews, CRS holds one 60-day public comment period, followed by additional 30-day comment periods as necessary. If a public comment period is ever shortened for any reason, the reason will be included in the public summary of the consultation process. No public comment period will be shorter than 30 days.

Commenting between Comment Periods

Any stakeholder or interested party can submit a comment on any standard or to request a clarification or change to the program at any time. These comments can be registered by sending an email to info [at] green-e.org, or by mailing, calling, or contacting the Secretariat or the Governance Board. For more information on submitting comments between comment periods, please see the Stakeholder Committee page.

Standard Review Work Program

A work program is maintained on this Green-e website to notify stakeholders of upcoming comment periods and potential revisions to the standards. This includes information on any standards CRS is currently preparing, amending or revising and the standards that have been adopted in the preceding period. See Standard Review Work Program for more information.

Stakeholder Participation

Stakeholder participation goals are developed before each stakeholder comment period. The overall goals are dependent on the scope of the comment period. CRS identifies stakeholder groups that will be affected by the potential changes resulting from the issues on the consultation agenda, and develops outreach plans prior to the start of the comment period to ensure that all affected stakeholders have access to the comment period materials and are aware of the upcoming potential revisions.

Maintenance of Standard Setting Procedures

The CRS Governance and Standard Setting Procedures will be reviewed every five years, or more frequently as necessary. All stakeholders and interested parties are able to submit comments on the Standard Setting Procedures at any time. For more information on submitting comments on the Standard Setting Procedures, see Stakeholder Comments.

Recordkeeping

Throughout the standard setting development and maintenance process, CRS keeps records of all documents pertaining to standard setting activities. These records are maintained for at least five years. These records include, but are not limited to:
  • The terms of reference for the standard
  • Governance Board meeting minutes and handouts
  • Advisory Group meeting agendas and handouts
  • All comments received on a standard
  • A synopsis of how all comments were addressed
  • All data and analysis contained in the standard
  • A list of stakeholders directly contacted and other outreach strategies
  • All draft and final versions of a standard

Complaint Procedures

Any stakeholder has the right to register a complaint against CRS and its standards. For more information on how to register a complaint, and how those complaints are handled, please see the Stakeholder Comments section.
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