Natural. Non-toxic. Energy saving. Eco-friendly. Green. These are only a handful of the claims that tens of thousands of product specifiers face every day. With the green building materials market rapidly growing at 5% per year to a projected $571B by 2013, the number of manufacturerspromoting their product’s green attributes will continue to grow (NextGen Research). It’s incredibly hard for specifiers to keep up. According to “The Seven Sins of Greenwashing,” manufacturers and distributors often make the decision more complicated, with more than 98% of products making misleading claims about green attributes. And while there are dozens of standards trying to prevent greenwashing, the volume of standards and discrepancies between them only serve to make the product specification decision nearly impossible.

The Green Product Association (GPA) grew out of this need for leadership around green products. Over the past six months, GPA has built strategic partnerships with leaders in building materials, media, innovation, and global trade, all of whom are critical to effective market transformation that truly benefits all users.

Today the Green Product Association formally introduces the Thought Leaders. The individuals below are recognized authorities on green products who provide expertise and knowledge informing all GPA activities. In particular, Thought Leaders serve two purposes: (1) To define and clarify what makes a product green and how claims should be verified; and (2) To safeguard the integrity of the Green Product Association so that architects, specifiers and purchasers know that they can trust information and resources developed by GPA. Thought Leaders bring valuable expertise in all aspects of the product life cycle, such as green chemistry, life cycle assessment, human health and toxicity, biomimicry and green building. The first Thought Leaders are:

Penny Bonda, ASID Fellow, LEED AP, has been championing sustainability in interior design for more than a decade. Penny is a prolific writer and Eco-editor of Interior Design Magazine. She is the founding chair of the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) LEED CI committee, founding chair of the ASID Sustainable Design Council and principal developer of REGREEN. Penny also serves on the Council for Interior Design Accreditation Standards Council, Antron Sustainability Advisory Council, and Greenguard Advisory Council and is one of the USGBC’s LEED training faculty.

Tim Greiner works with large corporations on supply chain sustainability. He has a diverse background in Materials Science Engineering, Environmental Policy and Business. Tim is a founding member, former Board member and president of the Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Planners Association, the founder of the Cape Ann Climate Change Network, and a Research Associate at the Lowell Center for Sustainable Production.

Hubert Murray, FAIA, RIBA, is the Manager of Sustainable Initiatives at Partners / MGH, and an architect with an extensive portfolio of projects at all scales and across the globe. Hubert was the Chief Architect for Boston’s Central Artery Project from 1989-92. In both his professional and pro-bono work, Hubert has been active in improving the quality and management of public space and public amenities, and is currently focusing on health and sustainability in Healthcare facilities.

Bill Reed, LEED AP, is an internationally recognized proponent and practitioner in sustainability and regeneration. Bill is a principal in three firms: the Integrative Design Collaborative, Regenesis, Inc., and Delving Deeper. Bill has worked on hundreds of projects around the world, at all scales. He was a founding Board Member of the USGBC, Co-chair of the LEED Technical committee, served on the executive committee of AIA COTE and is the co-author of The Integrative Design Guide to Green Building: Redefining the Practice of Sustainability.

Bill Walsh is the Founder and Executive Director of The Healthy Building Network. As an attorney, he previously coordinated the Energy, Forest and Toxic Campaigns of Greenpeace USA and held staff attorney positions with the U.S. Public Interest Research Group and the Institute for Public Representation of Georgetown University Law Center. More recently, Bill lead the development of the Pharos Lens – the first tool in the industry to provide transparency and comparative analysis for products.

Alex Wilson, LEED AP, is the Founder and Executive Director of Building Green, Inc. For more than 30 years, Alex has been the most trusted voice on energy efficiency and environmentally responsible design and construction. He served on the USGBC Board of Directors, was a founding member of the USGBC Research Committee, and received the 2008 USGBC Leadership Award for Education and the 2010 Hanley Award for Vision and Leadership in Sustainable Housing.

Join architects, specifiers and purchasers from 27 states and 10 countries by demonstrating your commitment to end greenwashing by signing the Green Product Pledge at http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/GPA-ProductSustainabilityandTransparency.

The Green Roundtable / NEXUS is a non-profit based in Boston, whose mission is the mainstream green building. NEXUS is a national leader in green professional training, green firm certification, green project consulting, and green product promotion. For more information, contact Aaron Desatnik, Marketing Manager, at (617) 374-3740 x127 or aaron ( @ ) greenroundtable dot org or visit www.greenproductassociation.org.