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NPMA and NRDC – Marriage of Pest Control and Environmental Groups – Reviewed

Last year the National Pest Management Association created in industry defined green standards certification called QualityPro Green (now GreenPro). This past spring of 2009, the NRDC (National Resource Defense Council) approached NPMA ( National Pest Management Association) with a request to conditionally join in the effort to create a better national green program. NPMA wisely found common ground with NRDC, listening and absorbing several of their concerns and designing a better green program under a newly marketed label – GreenPro. GreenPro will now have environmental advocates from outside the pest control industry sitting on its’ board of directors.

Will NRDC find that they have a true partner in NPMA? It’s an open question. Time will tell. By not requiring a front-end audit and an audit of a larger segment of multi-branch companies, they are taking a substantial risk with their own membership and with the potential for the process to be easily subverted. It will be incombant on NPMA and individual GreenPro certified companies to prove they are worthy of the trust extended by NRDC.

Please take the opportunity to review and discuss “A Suprise Marriage” published by Pest Management Professional Magazine in its’ September 2009 issue. In this article I review my own perspective and experience as an active pest control operator.

Feel free to post your replies. All comments are welcome.

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4 Comments

  • Tanya Drlik says:

    Having been intimately involved in writing the EcoWise Certified IPM Standards, developing the EcoWise Certification Program, and certifying the first PCOs in the US, I was dismayed when NRDC endorsed GreenPro, an industry certification program (as opposed to an independent, third-party certification).

    As you mention in your blog, companies can become GreenPro certified without any kind of up-front audit of their records. Field audits are random and companies could claim IPM certification for 5 years without anyone ever scrutinizing their actual IPM practices.

    I find it particulary troubling that large companies with hundreds of branch offices would only have to submit to a maximum of 30 branch office field audits.

    In my 10 years of working closely with PCOs, I have found that branch offices of large companies differ remarkably in their acceptance and practice of IPM. Branch managers set the tone of the branch office, quite aside from the overall policies of the parent company. If the branch manager is well informed and dedicated to the principles of IPM,there is a much better chance that technicians will deliver IPM service. However, I have seen many companies (large and small) whose policies look good on paper and whose managers are well informed about IPM and talk a great talk, but whose technicians don’t deliver IPM services in their day to day work.

    I fear that the current lax oversight on the part of NPMA will not provide the kind of confidence and credibility that I am looking for as a customer.

    In my current position as IPM Coordinator for the California County of Contra Costa, I am requiring companies that bid on our structural IPM contract to be IPM certified by EcoWise, Green Shield, or GreenPro, with the provision that GreenPro companies must have gone through a field audit or be preparing to do so.

    Tanya Drlik
    IPM Coordinator
    Contra Costa County

  • Gerry says:

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and concerns. I can only begin to imagine how hard the EcoWise team worked to establish standards, procedures and a compliance process. I do not understand how NRDC failed to assert the primacy of verifiable compliance in a timely manner. By back-ending it, they are inviting companies to move into the green-scape without the mentality or skills to succeed. They have invited failure. But will NRDC ever know of the failures? Will they be detected? How long will it be before compliants start coming saying that GreenPro has not kept to its own standard? What exactly is the standard when any product can be justified? There are lots of open questions.

    Perhaps the old truism applies that “the world is not always fair.” It is what it is and we will see where the chips fall.

    I do sincerely wish NRDC/NPMA the best luck moving forward. I would be very happy if it achieves the mutual concerns of both organizations.

  • Great post Gerry. I am not sure if you have read any of my posts on the Green Pest Control conference I went to this year… but to say the least I was a bit concerned about a green certificate that required little to enter and then a monthly fee to keep.

    I think that it is a smart move on Quality Pro’s part to get a third party endorsement and make them members of the board. Hopefully this move will put some meat behind their certification.

    -Thos003

  • Great comment Tanya. Couldn’t of said better myself. To sum up my thoughts…

    What’s being preached from the pulpit doesn’t always get practiced by the peeps in the pews.

    -Thos003

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