Let Me Google That For You
On more than one occasion I have taken the easy road and asked a question of a colleague rather than do a little simple work with a search engine to find the answer for myself. Sometimes I get a quick response to my question that looks more like alphabet soup; "LMGTFY." "Let Me Google That For You" is a rather snarky way to respond, but, sometimes it's not a bad idea to tell someone they would be best served by looking up the answer themselves.
Google "product safety," and in about a third of a second, you get over 18 million responses. Above-the-fold in the search results Google returns the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) website, as you would expect. You also can find the website for reporting and researching unsafe products that we discussed in our last post here, www.saferproducts.gov.
Ethical conduct in manufacturing is one of the core points of focus for the Quality Certification Alliance. If you Google "ethical conduct," you get almost 800 million responses. "Child labor" returns 16 million responses, while "environmental stewardship" returns 500,000. Providing the promotional product industry's only non-profit independent accreditation protocol for suppliers, QCA is always looking for relevant comparable industry benchmarks. That's why I found the American Chemical Council's (ACC) Responsible Care Product Safety Code of particular interest.
The ACC makes it its business to recognize that the wonderful advantages of modern chemicals must still be used responsibly. That's why the ACC and its members developed the Responsible Care Product Safety Code to drive continuous improvement in chemical product safety as part of the industry's signature environmental, health, safety and security management system. With the number of chemicals used to soften plastics over the years in our industry alone, parallel ideas to learn from jump out at you.
The Product Safety Code includes a set of 11 Management Practices, through which chemical manufacturers can evaluate, demonstrate and continuously improve their product safety performance, while also making information about chemical products available to the public.
Specifically, the Product Safety Code Management Practices verify that chemical companies:
- Undertake scientific analyses of their products, and take steps to assure they can be used safely.
- Enhance cooperation and communications along the chemical value chain.
- Consider impacts on public health, the environment and overall sustainability as they improve their products or develop new ones.
- Determine whether the chemicals they make pose risks, based on any new research, how the chemical is used, and whether children and other sensitive groups come into contact with them.
- Provide the public with access to product safety and stewardship information.
- Ensure that company senior executives, including the CEO, commit to a culture of product safety and accountability.
There's a very familiar ring to those protocols and, for the most responsible of distributors and suppliers in our industry, this kind of proactive management is finding its way into the corporate and social responsibility initiatives of industry leaders. How about you, does your organization take product safety and ethical responsibility seriously enough? Or, are you still "googling it?"
By the way, congratulations to the Counselor Top 50 announced this week at the ASI Power Summit. Of the industry's Top 50 most influential, QCA-Accredited suppliers and distributors that are members of the QCA Distributor Advocacy Council give QCA 30 names on the list. Best wishes and a tip of the hat to them all.
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.