The Global Standard for Consumer Products (N.A.): Issue 3 is now available!
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Click here for a list of Frequently Asked Questions about the Standard
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.
It is a detailed set of requirements developed by retailers to provide manufacturers with a framework to ensure the production of safe products. The Standard seeks to make certain that suppliers conduct a holistic hazard and risk management assessment of the products they are producing, with a focus on quality (size, color, and reliability), safety (physical, flammability, chemical, and biological), and legality (international, national, and local).
The Standard is suitable for any manufacturing or operating assembly of consumer products for sale to retailers or wholesalers. The Standard is not country specific and can be used anywhere in the world. It is supported by a growing number of retailers worldwide, and will be available in numerous languages, including English, German, Dutch, and Mandarin. The Standard is designed to assist consumer product manufacturers to adopt good manufacturing practices, quality management systems, and safe packaging materials to meet their customer’s quality requirements.
Meeting requirements of the Global Standard of Consumer Products ensures that the best practice standards are developed, implemented, and maintained for manufacturers and assembly packers of consumer products. The Global Standard enables manufacturers and retailers to both achieve their aims of establishing a set of objectives to help ensure a certain standard of product is met. Likewise, by creating a uniform guideline, the Standard greatly reduces duplication on suppliers for audits and other requirements made by retailers.
The requirements in the Standard are designed to:
To accompany the Standard, a General Guideline will be published to aid sites in reaching certification. To provide additional product safety rigor, a series of best practice and product Sector Specific Guidelines will be published to complement the Standard. The range of Guidelines enables both retailers and suppliers to achieve their aim by providing these simple "how to" guides to assist companies in meeting the relevant Standard requirements. These sector specific product safety guidelines will be developed around specific product categories of highest risk, demonstrating where initial focus will be driven.
The Sector Specific Guidelines will initially include:
The Technical Advisory Committee
RILA members are made up of the largest and most innovative U.S. based retail companies. They embrace their role as leaders on the product safety arena, placing the highest priority on the safety and quality of products they sell to their customers.Therefore, under the management of RILA and the BRC, RILA members convened to form the North American Technical Advisory Committee (NATAC) with the purpose of guiding and developing the Global Standard for Consumer Products (GSCP). In conjunction a similar committee was formed in the UK, the European Union Technical Advisory Committee (EUTAC).These members collaborate to organize, structure, and support the Standard to meet current product safety demands. Together, RILA and the BRC are developing a truly global product safety standard.Benefits of the Standard
The Global Standard is intended to create a uniform guideline and greatly reduce duplication and redundancy that currently exist with individual retailer audits. Currently, manufacturing sites experience a large number of audits from retailers who require their own individual standard of safety to be met. The Global Standard allows retailers to rely on an impartial audit, paid for by the supplier, therefore lessening the need for multiple visits.
Steps to Gaining Certificiation
Step 1 - Getting Prepared
Order a copy of the Standard and the Standard Guideline to assess the compliance of your site to its requirements. Certification is site specific, nor supplier specific. In addition to the Standard and Guideline, there will be Sector Specific Guidelines for purchase (Toys, Electrical, Health and Beauty, Jewelry, Furniture, Textiles) which are guidance documents on best practices for the use of the Standard, which will be of assistance to manufacturing sites that produce those specific consumer products.
To assist in the implementation of the BRC Global Standards, the BRC has developed a wide range of practical training courses.
Click here for further information.
Step 2 - Self Assessment
Review your current systems and practices against the requirements of the Standard in order to identify areas which may need further work before undertaking a full audit. This can be carried out by your own site or by asking a Certification Body to undertake a pre-assessment. Please note Certification Bodies are not able to provide consultancy although they can identify areas where further work is required.
Step 3 - Select a Certification Body
Select an accredited Certification Body to carry out the evaluation on your site. Only Certification Bodies that are registered by the BRC can undertake audits. Certification Bodies can be selected by country by clicking here.
Certification Bodies will require details of your site and operation before being able to p[rovide a quotation. Typical audit durations are indicated in the Standard.
Step 4 - Audit
A plan for the audit should be provided by your Certification Body to ensure that you and your team are properly prepared. The audit may be extended if staff or documentation is not available at the audit so preparation is essential. It is important that the site is in production at the time of the audit otherwise a further audit will be required.
Step 5 - Corrective Actions
At the end of the audit the Certification Body should provide a written list of any areas which need improvement in order to gain certification, which will also be discussed at the closing meeting. Where non-conformities have been identified, these must be addressed and suitable evidence provided to the Certification Body for assessment within 28 to 60 days. In some circumstances it may be necessary for the auditor to return to the site to check that appropriate corrective action has been taken.
Step 6 - Certification Decision
The Certification Body will review the audit report from the auditor and corrective action documentation provided in order to make a certification decision.
Step 7 - Issue of Report and Certificate (if applicable)
The audit report and certificate (if applicable) should be issued within 42 days of the original audit date to the person who paid for the audit (usually the site). A copy of the report is automatically sent to the BRC to allow quality control checking of the Certification Bodies. Certificated sites are invited to have site details placed on the BRC Directory web site to advertise their achievements.
Step 8 - Issue of Report to Customers
The audit report is owned by the company paying for the audit and copies can only be provided to other parties at the request of the owner (a copy is provided to the BRC and this is held confidentially). It is standard to authorize the release of a copy of the report and/or certificate for customers.
How often will I need to be audited against the Standard?
The frequency of the audits depends upon the product group. The Standard will contain details on how to determine which product group your site falls into.
How long will the audit take?
The length of the audit will depend on the size and complexity of your operations. A typical audit would be expected to take 1.5 days on-site, with another 0.5 days to produce the detailed report.
How soon will I get my report/certificate?
At the end of the audit, the auditor is expected to provide a summary of any non-conformity identified and will usually provide a written report setting these out. Sites are then allowed 28 or 60 days (depending on the severity on the non-conformity) to provide the evidence that they have completed any actions identified at the audit. A further 14 days are allowed for the Certification Body to review the information, complete the report, and make a certification decision. In total, a time of 42 to 104 days should be allowed between the audit and issue of a certificate.
What documentation do you need to keep for hazard and risk management?
You need to ensure that the information on which the hazard and risk management plan is based is referenced and available on request by the auditor. This may include published literature on known hazards, codes of practice, or legislation. You need to keep records of hazard and risk management team meetings and the decisions which were reached. You should have documents to demonstrate how the decisions for extablishing CCPs were reached.
Third Party Auditors
Neither BRC nor RILA undertake audits themselves, but closely manage the certification program by licensing the use of the Standard to approved third party auditors known as "Certification Bodies".
Certification Bodies must be both accredited by their national Accredidation Body and abide by strict BRC requirements for auditor competency, reporting, and performance.
Companies looking to carry out their BRC audit will be able to choose from approved Certification Bodies who are listed on the BRC Directory.
Certificated BRC audits can only be undertaken by approved Certification Bodies listed on the Directory. Due to the nature of the certification process, they cannot be undertaken by independent auditors.
Auditors are required to have:
Are you a Certification Body interested in sponsoring a RILA Event or Newsletter? If so, please contact Jim Neill (Jim.Neill@rila.org), vice president, product safety, for more details.
Training courses are being designed to facilitate understanding of the Standard and the certification process. These courses will train auditors to effectively evaluate manufacturing sites and prepare manufacturing companies for their audits by providing an understanding of the audit procedure. As a leading training provider offering a wide selection of interactive courses, the BRC has developed an excellent track record and built an eviable reputation for the development and delivery of training courses to a broad audience from both the private and public sectors.
Training aims and goals are to:
About the BRC Approved Training Providers (ATP's)
The Approved Training Provider program was created to develop a directory of internationally recognized individuals who deliver BRC training courses around the world. ATP's are professional individuals who have a working knowledge of food and consumer product sectors in addition to many years of training.
Successful individuals are licensed on an annual basis and their details are added to the ATP database on the BRC Global Standards Directory website. They are provided with all the necessary training materials to carry our BRC courses. In addition, individuals will be able to use the prestigious ATP logo on all of their communication materials.
The Global Standard Directory is an online searchable resource that provides details of consumer products to suppliers who have achieved certification against the Global Standard for Consumer Products. The database allows users to located records by a variety of flexible search options. The functional specifications were defined in conjunction with retailers, Certification Bodies, and suppliers, with a focus placed on data protection and ease of administration.
Benefits of the Directory
Retailers and Other Purchasers:
The BRC/RILA Global Standard for Consumer Products (North American): Issue 3 is now available. You can purchase a copy of the Standard today, by clicking here!