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With the high profile recalls in 2007 and 2008 leading to passage of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), the Retail Industry Leaders Association resolved to adopt a more proactive stance on product safety. On January 25, 2009, the RILA Board of Directors approved the formation and funding of a contractual partnership with the British Retail Consortium (BRC), the lead retail trade association in the UK, to establish the first retail-led global product safety standard for consumer products. The Global Standard for Consumer Products is a manufacturing facility standard prescribing capability and competency requirements for achieving product safety, quality, and compliance, validated by a scored factory site audit.
To spearhead the development of the Global Standard for Consumer Products, the North American Technical Advisory Committee (NATAC) was created. The NATAC consists of top RILA members with significant product safety expertise, and whose purpose is to develop and guide the Standard in cooperation with the BRC's Technical Advisory Committee for the European Union.
Benefits of this Standard include creating uniform retail requirements to greatly reduce duplication and redundancy that currently exist with individual retailer audits. At this time, manufacturing sites experience a large number of audits from retailers who require their own individual standard of safety to be met. The Global Standard will allow retailers to rely on one certified audit, paid for by the supplier, therefore lessening the need for multiple audits.
After nearly a year of review and comments taken on from retailers, certification bodies, manufacturing trade associations, and their suppliers, The Global Standard has been published. Next steps include development and publication of a general guideline, which will accompany the standard and aid sites in preparation for being audited. Additionally, sector specific guidelines will be developed to further educate and assist manufacturing sites about the audit process if they fall into the manufacturing of high-profile products, including toys, electrical, furniture, health & beauty, textiles, and jewelry.
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