Importance of Compliance
This is a guide to promotional merchandise safety compliance and how it can benefit you as a consumer and somebody who resupplies promotional merchandise. However, please note that any purchase that you make from PromoBM is covered by our product liability insurance valued at $20 million, which is far higher than the industry standard.
This document is to be used as a guide only, it includes a list of compliance factors and what they mean in the context of promotional merchandise. If you require official certificates, please contact us and we can organise that for you.
So why is compliance good for you?, and why should you take it into consideration with your purchasing decisions? Compliance has the following benefits to you:
- Cost and time savings
- Increased control over Brand Image & Brand Equity
- Positive Social and Environmental impacts
- Confidence in Safety
- Reduced exposure to unforeseen risks
Compliance allows you to be confident that the products you will be receiving are safe for both you and your clients. Compliance and accreditation shows that the supply chain adheres to certain benchmarks regarding environmental and social standards, allowing your company to choose products that align with your own values. Promotional merchandise represents your brand and its image, so it is important that it is high quality and safe.
Compliance gives you more confidence and control to allow your brands image to be seen in the best light possible. Compliance can be defined as “the act of obeying an order, rule, or request” as defined in the Cambridge dictionary. In the case of promotional merchandise, compliance can apply to suppliers, individual products or both. A product or supplier can be compliant with many different regulations or standards that extend beyond compulsory Australian legislation. These include: industry benchmarks/standards, adherence to standards from other countries and compliance with other independent organisations code of conduct e.g. BSCI who support companies to drive social compliance and improvements for workers in the global supply chain.
When talking about compliance within promotional merchandise, the five main pillars are: Product Safety, Product Quality, Social Compliance, Environmental Standards and Supply Chain Security.
Everyone in the delivery and supply chain is responsible for product safety and plays a role: The importer needs to make sure products are tested and certified before importing the products. The distributor needs to request certification of these products and the end user needs to request “safe” products and choose compliant products over other alternatives. In the modern age of globalisation, retailers, importers and brands source products from around the world. So, it can be difficult to distinguish between safe and unsafe products, as well as knowing how that product is produced. With the rise of the Internet, information is much more available, allowing news to travel fast. Product recalls are being given much more precedence and importance than ever before. Compliance exists and is becoming increasingly important so you can be confident in the products you utilise to represent your brand.
We have all heard horror stories as to how a product has malfunctioned, becoming dangerous, potentially causing harm and is damaging to the brand. For example: battery flaws within the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phones that had the potential for the phones to overheat and catch fire. Compliance and testing is important so situations like this are prevented completely. Companies or products that do not comply with compulsory requirements may face legal repercussions or become banned from sale in Australia. In addition, companies that do not voluntarily show compliance may face backlash or lower sales due to consumers choosing to shop elsewhere.
Compliance isn’t anything new, but we have noticed it is increasingly becoming a focus in the promotional merchandise industry. The market has started to move away from price and is now moving towards putting quality and compliance first. Consumers want merchandise that is not only safe, but sourced from a supply chain that is both socially and environmentally conscious. Higher compliance regulation has become standard in the US and European markets, with much stricter compulsory requirements and guidelines when compared to the current Australian industry. Even so, we are making an effort to go above and beyond expectations and taking voluntary steps to give Australian consumers the same level of care and choices.
There are many groups in the compliance story that come together to form the completed picture. They include: Government regulatory bodies, third party standard setting organisations, large companies, testing and quality assurance services, University research centres, consumers and of course suppliers and producers.
Mandatory compliance standards in Australia
Commonwealth, State, and Territory consumer protection agencies play a role in improving and promotional product safety in Australia. Not all products require safety regulations, but many injuries can occur if a product is not used as intended. Consumers play a vital role in the product safety system by choosing safe products and reporting unsafe products. In Australia suppliers adhere to both compulsory and voluntary compliance measures.
Mandatory safety standards are made for products that are likely to be extremely hazardous. Safety standards protect consumers by specifying minimum requirements that products must meet before they can be supplied. Safety standards require goods to comply with specific performance, composition, contents, methods of manufacture or processing, design, construction, finish or packaging rules.
Compulsory information standards exist to ensure the consumer is provided with important details in relation to the product, allowing them to make appropriate personal choices. Information standards require suppliers to give consumers prescribed information when they purchase certain goods e.g. Ingredient labelling in cosmetics, labelling for clothing and textile products, labelling for tobacco products.
Under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL), consumers are provided with certain guarantees when they purchase goods and services, known as consumer guarantees. The ACL also includes national product safety laws that set out responsibilities of the Australian State and Territory governments and suppliers. This includes responsibilities for issuing safety warning notices, banning good and managing recalls of consumer goods. Under the ACL, it is an offence to:
- supply banned products or products that fail to meet requirements of mandatory safety standards
- make untrue claims about products, such as stating that they meet mandatory or voluntary safety standards when they do not
- supply banned products or products that fail to meet requirements of mandatory safety standards.