Innovation, creativity and perseverance drive change
UL's global network of experts respond to evolving technologies, products and solutions, and priorities in industries and markets. Some changes impact everyday safety while others represent fundamental transformation. We constantly challenge and refine our scientific acumen to help innovators commercialize their ideas for the benefit of their customers, companies and communities.
Building on our legacy in fire safety
Partnering with a global coalition of fire safety professionals
For our entire company history, UL has worked steadfastly to promote fire safety efforts that save lives and livelihoods. We will never waver from this commitment. This year, we joined the 80-member International Fire Safety Standards Coalition in developing the Global Plan for a Decade of Action for Fire Safety. This plan aims to ensure a consistent approach to standards to deliver safety more consistently and equitably.
Expanded cross-European capabilities
One of the many challenges of the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union has been navigating a more complex and fractured regulatory environment. In 2021, we achieved designation as a technical assessment body for both the European and United Kingdom markets. With this new status, we can offer third-party testing, evaluation and certification activities for fire safety products in Europe, speeding time to market and broadening market access.
Fostering new mobility internationally
Safer drone deployment
Civilian drones are popular in India for a range of uses, such as agriculture and logistics, but a lack of oversight has created hazardous conditions. The Quality Council of India approved UL to provide testing and certification services, which will expand secure access to the Indian airspace. Services will be provided at our Bengaluru facility in southern India.
Prioritizing safety with autonomous vehicle innovations
Autonomous vehicles (AV) hold a lot of promise for an array of industries, but a nascent regulatory environment and functional safety challenges may stymie adoption. We support the safe adoption of new mobility technologies by joining the World Economic Forum’s Safe Drive Initiative, a multistakeholder group tasked with aligning safety considerations. This effort will foster deeper collaboration, increase transparency and manage risk in AV technology applications around the world.
Bringing together new mobility stakeholders
Before AVs make their way onto city streets populated with other drivers, cyclists and pedestrians, municipalities must ensure these technologies are as safe as possible. Through a collaboration between kVA by UL and Stantec GenerationAV™, communities will have access to a complete advisory solution that takes a systems view of AV technologies and their safety impacts. This approach helps build trust with residents and expand safer adoption of an emerging technology.
"Of all the third-party conformity assessment bodies, UL provides the greatest value and results in safer e-bikes and instills consumer confidence in the micromobility industry."
Enabling safety with science-based solutions
Supporting healthful foodservice environments
With the UL Everclean® Verified Mark for Food Safety Practices, foodservice providers can demonstrate their commitment to rigorous food safety practices, hygiene and sanitation, all from a brand consumers respect and trust.
Improving the process for medical device testing
Medical device manufacturers develop products to improve, extend and preserve a patient’s quality of life. But before these devices can come to market, they must meet exacting standards by the U.S. FDA. Participating in the Accreditation Scheme for Conformity Assessment (ASCA), a voluntary pilot program for medical device safety and performance testing, can help accelerate review time for new devices. In 2021, the U.S. FDA recognized several UL facilities as accredited laboratories for ASCA, now offered at nine locations in the U.S., Europe and Asia.
Ongoing vigilance against COVID-19
Reopening schools with confidence
As students returned to schools across the United States in fall of 2021, concerned parents and administrators looked for solutions to promote healthy indoor environments. We collaborated with SafeTraces, a market leader in DNA-based technology solutions, to help schools address indoor air quality, ventilation and filtration verification and infection control. This way, schools were able to reopen safely and stay open throughout the year.
Critical resources for dire needs
New variants of COVID-19 emerged, depleting critical medical supplies in hard-hit areas around the world. We continue to support our customers’ efforts in the ongoing fight to manage COVID-19. Our Field Engineering team collaborated with Honeywell to ship lifesaving oxygen concentrators to China and India.
Protecting lifesaving vaccines
The safe shipping of vaccines relies on many factors, particularly temperature. Our Gavirate, Italy, laboratory received accreditation through the World Health Organization as a third-party testing laboratory for refrigerators and freezers used to store vaccines. With this important distinction, we supported the global distribution of lifesaving vaccines.
Providing guidance that matters
Employers need thoughtful, actionable training solutions in order to mount an effective response to COVID-19. Our ComplianceWire® team responded with training solutions for vaccine manufacturers and governments. The Emergency Use Qualification system connects professionals involved in vaccine production, distribution and inoculation with the knowledge needed to perform their work safely and consistently.
In support of a more connected world
Balancing connectivity with security
Today, devices make connections with platforms around the world, sharing important personal data. To encourage the ease of connection while mindfully managing cybersecurity threats, we launched UL’s SafeCyberTM Digital Security Platform. This solution set empowers multiple stakeholders to take an active role in Internet of Things (IoT) security for the benefit of the growing connected ecosystem.
Responding to changing Wi-Fi requirements
With the world embracing 5G technology, our global network of Wi-Fi testing capabilities is well prepared to meet growing demand for this protocol. At the same time, we continue to invest in testing capabilities to accommodate emerging technologies. In 2021, we opened the first and only facility for Wi-Fi 6E testing in Europe, in Basingstoke, England. With this enhancement, we can help customers meet regulatory requirements for 5G, 6, 6E and what comes next.
Promoting data center safety and performance
From alternative currencies to cloud computing to the rise of the Internet of Things, data centers are a thriving industry. To promote data center operations that address safety, performance and sustainability concerns, we launched programs targeted at data center operators and owners. The Data Center Integrator Qualification and Immersion Cooling Equipment programs offer the industry a trustworthy, recognizable qualification program that identifies and qualifies system integrators and their staff.
Securing digital credentials
Advancements in digital will reduce reliance on plastic IDs. This year, UL worked to advance the world’s embrace of secure, interoperable digital credentials — specifically, mobile driver’s licenses (mDLs). With our new Electronic Identification (eID) Technology Certification Scheme, we can evaluate for compliance with evolving international standards.
Assessing smart building performance
Today’s buildings boast interconnected systems that enhance building intelligence, performance and security. To add rigor to existing self-assessment tools available to the building industry, UL worked with the Telecommunications Industry Association to launch SPIRE™ Smart Building Verified Assessment and Rating. This holistic Verification offers property owners and managers insight on investment decisions while providing actionable guidance for improved tenant satisfaction and asset value.
Demonstrating outcomes for the built environment
Enhancing field testing
The building envelope includes all the factors we rely on to protect us from the elements, from windows to doors to foundations. In the Northeast and New York metropolitan real estate market, asset owners want reassurance that their building envelopes remain solid and secure. Our expanded building enclosure field testing evaluates and validates performance and compliance of building envelope products and systems, which aids in mitigating risk, meeting regulatory demands and protecting customers’ brands.
Supporting performance in changing conditions
Climate change causes more unpredictable, severe weather that can result in structural damage. According to the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety’s (IBHS) Research Center, average annual losses from hailstorms alone are estimated at $10 billion (USD). To help manufacturers demonstrate better performance in the face of inclement weather, we expanded our relationship with the IBHS to evaluate hail impact performance of asphalt shingles. Manufacturers can now engage UL for research and design testing as well as performance against IBHS criteria.
"Schneider Electric is embracing changes so we can meet our clients' needs. We could not find a better collaborator than UL to meet this challenge."
Promoting sustainability through advanced digital solutions
Scaling renewable power opportunities
Last year’s headlines included severe weather events, such as major ice storms, that took out power for millions. To anticipate these events, power providers are looking to build more stable, resilient energy solutions that also advance the transition to clean energy. UL’s HOMER solutions support more flexible, reliable and renewable utility-scale power systems with their standard-setting energy modeling software. These tools connect energy developers with resources to design and optimize power systems to overcome unpredictable weather patterns and make gains toward a clean-energy transition.
Expediting access to residential solar energy
According to the Solar Market Insight Report, the U.S. installed solar market grew to 5.4 GWdc, an increase of more than 33% over the same period in 2020. As more homeowners seek more sustainable solutions, municipalities struggle to review building permit applications on a timely basis. To minimize review time, we introduced Solar Automated Permit Processing Plus (SolarAPP+) software through a memorandum of understanding signed between UL and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. We expect that this software will cover 90% of all residential solar and solar plus storage permits by 2030.
Certification for green products in China
In its report, "Retail Market in China," Technavio predicts that the compound annual growth rate of China’s retail market will reach 10% by 2025. As interest in sustainable products grows, manufacturers can satisfy these consumers by earning China Green Product certifications. UL earned the distinction as the first foreign-funded certification body selected to issue these certifications, starting first with wood-based panels, wood flooring and coatings. This distinction allows us to help manufacturers improve product safety, enhance competitiveness and further expand market potential.
Accountability through transparent ESG metrics
More than ever, consumers, investors and regulators look at an organization’s performance against ESG initiatives. This data directs significant choices that can determine the long-term viability of an organization. Clear, consistent communication around ESG metrics is challenging, and UL’s 360 Sustainability Essentials software helps simplify workflow and foster transparency. In recognition of its utility, Environment + Energy Leader named 360 Sustainability Essentials a Top Product.