Alphabet Soup of Promo Products Industry: CPSC, WBENC, ETS and QCA Webinar
Commissioners of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), old and new, are in print this week. While style and subject are in stark contrast, both are worth a read.
Former CPSC commissioner Nancy Nord, always counted on to be critical of her former employer, doesn't disappoint. Her article is on the testing burden of phthalates (a chemical very familiar to our industry that's long been used as a "plasticizers" to soften plastics) and what the CPSC is doing to lessen that burden on suppliers for third-party testing. Simply put, if the CPSC can gather data that a product can never contain phthalates then it wouldn't require testing. As Nord points out, that might work for simple products like fabrics or wood, where predicting the non-use of phthalates is intuitive. But predicting the future of plastics would be like saying the "Moon isn't made of green cheese." Nord's acerbic wit first contrasts what we know now about the planet, with the future likely makeup of the moon, and then again with the likelihood of an unscrupulous manufacturer EVER again using phthalates in the future. "You never know ...," and, of course, you can never prove a negative.
Newer, but also former, Commissioner Inez Tenenbaum was published this week, as well on the ExpertSOLUTIONS Blog from Stericycle. In what could be viewed as an about-face for the CPSC, Tenenbaum discusses the benefits of having a third party conduct a recall required by her agency. Her points are certainly valid: that the rigors of an in-house recall may take energy away from other key components of a recall plan, things like public communication, ongoing PR and a media plan, as well as the logigistics involved in actually locating defective product. This is especially interesting as the CPSC has previously touted in-house recalls as the only way to go. Former Commissioner Tenenbaum's platform for this discussion is also an interesting choice—Stericycle, a firm that just so happens to offer third-party recall services, retrieval, and audit.
QCA Distributor Advocacy Council member and SwervePoint principal Juli Sinnett was featured in the Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) President's Report. Speaking to major corporations with an active supplier diversity program about promotional products, Sinnett discussed QCA accreditation, and using it to tier SwervePoint's supplier base. "Big brands care about making sure they are not going to put their logo on something that is going to be recalled—right now there is no vetting process in place to make sure that the vendor base is safe," she said. Sinnett went on to explain about working with her colleagues on the QCA DAC to do just that.
Speaking of new colleagues, we'd like to congratulate ETS Express Inc. for achieving QCA accreditation, bringing the total number of accredited suppliers to 26. "As a family-run business, we've always taken deep pride in our creativity and quick ability to respond to clients' needs with leading-edge drinkware products," Sharon Eyal, CEO of ETS Express, said. "But, as we dramatically grew our business over the past decade, it was clear that we needed more formal processes and better controls to meet the pace of our success. The QCA accreditation process has helped us to meet our internal goals in the compliance area and to meet our external goal of giving our customers greater confidence in our company and our products."
Finally, if you missed our live webinar on corporate social responsibility with the principals of SanMar, SnugZ and The Image Group, you can still register and view it on demand. By clicking that link, you can join Jeremy Lott, Brandon Mackay and Jon Levine for a 55-minute lively session on how safety and social compliance are woven into the day-to-day activities of their respective organizations. This is a great opportunity to learn more about how you can make this happen for your organization and/or why it's important to consider corporate social responsibility practices with the vendors with whom you work.
Jeff is executive director of the Quality Certification Alliance (QCA). Prior to that, he was responsible for developing safe and compliant brand merchandise for Michelin. He has worked with brands in publishing, consumer products, broadcasting and film for over 30 years. Follow Jeff on Twitter, and QCA on Facebook.