A first for TOTO

TOTO has announced today that it is introducing an innovative, new way to report product transparency that enables customers to earn LEED v4 credit for select high-efficiency toilets.

Committed to environmental leadership that exceeds compliance,TOTO discovered that it was unable to comply with LEED v4’s disclosure option to provide Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) for its high-efficiency toilets. The company could not do this because there is no Product Category Rule for toilets (PCRs define the requirements of EPDs for each product category). EPDs are required for its building industry customers to earn the highest number of LEED points for purchasing TOTO products. To solve this problem, TOTO, already using Sustainable Minds’ LCA software to help it design sustainable products, turned to the company to help it solve this problem marketing.

Together, TOTO and Sustainable Minds discovered that current EPDs generally provide too much life-cycle analysis and other environmental data, making their length and level of technicality difficult to understand for a non-technical reader. In addition, few include much-needed product marketing information to put the environmental information in context. In short, today’s EPD’s make it difficult for architects, builders, contractors, and other members of the building industry to compare plumbing products and make well-informed greener purchasing decisions.

As remedy, TOTO and Sustainable Minds saw an opportunity to use the life-cycle assessments TOTO does on its products to develop a transparent reporting tool that is effective, credible, comparable, and affordable. The new SM Transparency Reports are concise, compelling and effective. They present functional and environmental product performance information together in a three-page report, enabling a manufacturer like TOTO to make its LCA results understandable by describing what the company is doing to make its products more sustainable. The new SM Transparency Reports give readers visibility into the decisions TOTO makes across the life cycle of its products.

To ensure industry recognition that the new Transparency Reports are credible, Sustainable Minds turned to NSF International, industry leader in product certification, to provide the LCA third-party verification and report certification. Five SM Transparency Reports for select TOTO high-efficiency toilets may be previewed through the introduction of the Sustainable Minds’ Manufacturers Showroom, a public destination to showcase brands across the value chain, making credibly greener materials, processes and products.

“Since our incorporation in 1917, TOTO has been committed to environmental stewardship and reducing our products’ impact on the environment throughout their life cycle, from birth to the end of life,” says Bill Strang, president of Operations – Americas, TOTO USA. “As a part of our “People, Planet, Water” ethic, we have long-used life cycle thinking to prioritize where we should direct our efforts to increase environmental sustainability. As a part of our ongoing journey to reduce our environmental impact, we have integrated life-cycle analysis into our design process, operations, and supply chain. With the introduction of LEED v4, we sought to provide the same level of transparency to our customers. Unfortunately, without a Product Category Rule, we found that an Environmental Product Declaration was impossible. However, working with Sustainable Minds and NSF International, we discovered that we could address this challenge by innovating a new way to report product transparency. TOTO is proud that our partnership with Sustainable Minds and NSF resulted in such a simple, elegant and credible solution, which enables us to continue communicating the message of our sustainability journey to our customers.”

Says Terry Swack, founder & CEO, Sustainable Minds, “When it became clear that TOTO, a company committed to environmental leadership beyond compliance, was not going to be able to comply with the new LEED v4 disclosure option to provide EPDs for customers to earn the maximum available product credits for purchasing TOTO products – it was ‘game on’ to find a solution. Bill Strang is the best kind of customer who embraces innovation as component of leadership. It is a privilege to work jointly with a customer to innovate and address big systemic opportunities,” 

Says Tom Bruursema, general manager of NSF Sustainability, “NSF Sustainability’s extensive experience in validating and certifying products for the building products industry informs us that innovation is needed to identify, quantify and credibly certify more sustainable products and get that information to the market faster. The model developed by Sustainable Minds and TOTO provides a platform for doing that.”

Says Kirsten Ritchie, director of Sustainable Design, Gensler, “It is great to see companies like TOTO embracing product information transparency and delivering it in a way that is approachable and useful for the design and construction community.”

For more information, visit totousa.com