GreenGuard Environmental Institute (GEI) has debuted overseas operations in Beijing, China, serving the Asia-Pacific market with opportunities to certify products for their indoor environmental qualities. GEI considers this a "major move toward global expansion."
GEI's Beijing headquarters serves the entire Asia-Pacific market, including China, Taiwan, Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, South Korea, Philippines, and Thailand. GEI will work with manufacturers in those nations to produce low-emitting building products and materials for local and international markets. The office is expected to benefit various GEI stakeholders, including U.S. and foreign consumers, U.S. and foreign manufacturers, and U.S. and foreign product suppliers and distributors.
"So many products sold in the U.S. today are manufactured in China and surrounding nations," GEI Executive Director Henning Bloech said. "We saw a clear need to help those manufacturers produce high-quality, low-emitting products that create healthier indoor environments, and it just made sense to offer them assistance on their own soil. This is an incredible opportunity to make a lasting, positive impact on building products and materials that are manufactured in, sold in, and exported from the Asia-Pacific region."
Preliminary market research conducted on behalf of GEI revealed that the Chinese middle class has a growing interest in "greener," healthier living and a heightened concern over poor air quality. China's air pollution levels are severe, according to The World Bank and World Health Organization.
"Because of the severity of the outdoor air pollution in China, many families seek protection from the elements inside of their homes. Unfortunately, indoor air pollution is also a major problem, so the need for pollutant source control there is critical," said Ted Revis, who oversees GEI's China-based operations along with Melanie Chen, managing director. "The response we've gotten so far has been tremendous. Already, over a dozen manufacturers have either signed up for or achieved GreenGuard indoor air quality certification and/or GreenGuard Children & Schools Certification. This is a monumental step toward improving the indoor air quality of buildings in China."
A full-time on-site staff provides technical, marketing, sales, and new and ongoing customer support directly from the Beijing office to manufacturers throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
Manufacturers that have already achieved GreenGuard Certification out of the Beijing headquarters include Sheemax (furniture), Castle Mark (furniture), Vicostone (surfacing material), Zhejiang Qianglong Seating, and Concept Furniture.
GreenGuard Executive Director Provides GBI Additional Information
When asked for additional details, GreenGuard Executive Director Henning Bloech made the following statement to GBI: "We spent over 18 months researching and evaluating the Chinese market, investing considerable effort and resources into this Asian expansion. We have a full management, sales, marketing, and technical team in our Beijing office.
"Over the past few months, we have experienced significant growth in the Asia-Pacific region due to our presence in this important market. Awareness of indoor air quality issues has been rapidly increasing over the last several years, and the importance of low-emitting products as an effective solution is well understood in most Asian countries. Market expectations, in addition to scientific integrity and the strong GreenGuard name as a trusted brand for third-party certified low-emitting products and materials provides us with a convincing value proposition for Asian manufacturers, which is reflected in the number of Chinese and Asian manufacturers participating in our Certification Program.
"Our Beijing office is managed and staffed predominantly with Chinese professionals, which greatly helped us overcome any language or cultural challenges that similar efforts may face. GreenGuard Certification has grown into a global brand, which is demonstrated by the number of manufacturers from Asia and Europe offering GreenGuard-certified low-emitting products and the quickly growing number of building standards and product specifications around the world that require GreenGuard-certified products to protect building occupants from poor indoor air quality.
"We have been on a steady course of expansion and growth, and we expect to make further announcements in the near future."