Product stewardship means products are developed, produced, and managed throughout their life cycle in ways that both minimize risk to health and the environment and maximize value to customers. Safe management of your product and its life cycle is vital to the sustained success of your company.
Product stewardship is an overall philosophy and set of practices that is shared by all parties involved with a product and addresses EHS sustainability concerns upstream and downstream, from raw materials acquisition to recovery/reuse and ultimate disposal. Product stewardship is a commitment to employees, shareholders, business partners, customers, neighbors, and the environment to make products that can be made and used safely. It goes beyond compliance.
Steps to Integrate Product Stewardship
Strengthen your existing product stewardship programs.
Design practical, tiered EHS review processes.
Explore opportunities to instill principles of life cycle management.
Enhance supply chain and other stakeholder relationships.
Communicate with customers and the public about your stewardship activities and product advantages.
Produce sustainable products using sound principles of product stewardship.
- Leveraging the EHS advantages you’ve built into your product life cycle can help differentiate your company from the competition, but you need to be aware of Federal Trade Commission (FTC) restrictions on what you can say. For example, touting that your product is “environmentally friendly” is unacceptable under FTC regulations. See the Resources – Environmental Marketing Claims section for presentations and references that help explain how you can make good environmental marketing claims.
- You can also work with your supply chain, both upstream and downstream, to help them improve their operations and products, thus helping you to achieve your product stewardship goals — it’s a win-win scenario that’s mutually beneficial. With a sustainable supply chain, you can build your reputation for responsibility and good stewardship. To get a better understanding of the concept, see the Resources – Sustainability section for a presentation by Georjean L. Adams on Greening Your Supply Chain.
- It’s also important to understand how regulatory compliance can both help and delay growth as you try to make changes in your product life cycle. For example, developing and using new green chemistry can involve TSCA notifications or other permitting challenges, but can result in positive recognition by government agencies, improving your reputation.
Browse the EHS Strategies resources library to find documents, presentations, and articles that will enhance your understanding of EHS principles and the marketing opportunities and challenges they present.