Product stewardship services and product sustainability
Understanding the impacts of a product across the entire value chain – from raw material sourcing, through production, use and ultimately to end of life – is a growing issue for consumers, manufacturers, regulators and workforces in the supply chain.
We continue to see the growth and maturity of government and industry frameworks addressing the product responsibilities of manufacturers, distributors and importers. Their purpose is to ensure that products are safe and sustainable for people and the environment throughout the product life cycle.
ERM assists clients with compliance across a wide range of legal frameworks, including: the EU’s Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals (REACH) and similar requirements in other countries; Globally Harmonized System (GHS) for Classification and Labeling of Chemicals; the US Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Chemical Data Reporting; European Biocidal Product Regulation and legislation on plant protection products, as well as emerging chemical control laws around the world. We provide services encompassing toxicology, ecotoxicology and risk assessments; socio-economic assessments; life cycle assessments; and other industry-specific support.
In addition to chemical safety, product responsibility extends to social issues as well. Initiatives such as conflict minerals reporting, the UK Modern Slavery Act, California’s Transparency in Supply Chains Act, the UN Global Compact Principles and others have a direct impact on producers and their supply chain. ERM’s specialists on human rights, supply chain management and risk help clients address their growing product social responsibility requirements and expectations. With respect to sustainability, we offer appraisals across a wide range of issues and methods for both individual products and product portfolios, consistent with national and international standards and guidance documents, to assist clients in understanding the impacts and benefits of their products and opportunities for improvement. These include carbon, water and waste footprints; life cycle assessment; and analysis of resource efficiency, natural capital impact and consistency with circular economy principles.
ERM strengthened our offerings in product stewardship with the March 2015 acquisition of ReachCentrum, a significant provider of services in chemical registration under REACH. In addition, by acquiring JSC in March 2016, we added deep technical expertise in agrochemicals and biocides to our product sustainability service offering.
Increasing regulatory requirements
ERM's knowledge of the evolving legislative landscape means we can help clients manage environmental and social risk throughout the product life cycle. We have approximately 150 professionals with product sustainability expertise, located across Asia, Europe and the Americas. Our strong, globally connected team provides both local and global knowledge of market drivers and the regulatory landscape. ERM helps clients optimize their business value by supporting product compliance, mitigating risk and creating market opportunities.
Product and supply chain compliance and stewardship are emerging as critical business functions. While there can be a significant burden for companies, they also provide a potential opportunity for competitive advantage. Done well, product stewardship can open new markets, create demand for products, reduce insurance and other business costs and enhance brand image.
The following exemplify some of the ways ERM helps clients improve the management of their products and supply chains:
- Gaps in compliance and information management systems at a Fortune 20 company led to supply chain interruptions and significant business risk. ERM helped the client resolve critical issues under REACH, leveraging pre-registrations of new subsidiaries and restructuring supply chains to achieve results in a timely manner. We also developed systematic programs for compliance with GHS, TSCA, "China REACH," biocides and other regulatory topics and integrated Information Technology (IT) solutions within the client's regulatory compliance program. As a result of our engagement, the client addressed its initial business challenges and built a framework for dependable, consistent and sustainable ongoing global operations.
- The success of a multinational acquisition depended on uninterrupted manufacture and sustained product sales. ERM's due diligence assessment identified significant inconsistencies in the target company's product stewardship systems. We developed and executed a rapid post-merger integration plan for product compliance in the European Union, United States, China, Japan and Korea. Our specialists transformed IT platforms and transferred crucial data to support longer-term compliance, enabling this company to realize full product value from the first day post transaction.
- ERM developed a sustainability decision-making tool to help an oil company evaluate alternative investment options for complying with its internal environmental performance standards. Whether controlling chemical use to limiting pollution, the tool helps our client understand and resolve commercial feasibility while focusing its resources on effective environmental and social expenditures.