What is Product Stewardship?
Product stewardship is the responsibility of managing the health, safety, and environmental aspects of raw materials, intermediates, and consumer products through their lifecycle. Product stewardship systems are implemented to prevent and minimize negative impacts across the value chain to maximize value outcomes. Product stewardship incorporates a wide range of activities, from sourcing raw materials, transportation of materials and products, production, assembly of materials into products, product consumer use considerations, and the product end of life considerations. As more products enter the marketplace and their production and manufacturing undergo scrutiny, product stewardship has become increasingly important.
Why Does Product Stewardship Matter?
Following an effective product stewardship program improves a company’s overall environmental performance and can potentially lessen its byproducts’ impact on the environment. Implementation of a program and following the EPA’s sustainable product stewardship program can provide decision makers, regulators, and consumers valuable information and data of a company’s carbon footprint. Such a program can improve resource use efficiency, through proper hazardous waste management and supply chain analysis, which may lead to more environmentally friendly material substitutions in a product’s production process.
Chemical regulation, an important component in a holistic product stewardship program, applies to all companies regardless of industry, includes chemicals used to maintain facilities (e.g., housekeeping, grease and lubricants, combustibles) and as a raw or composite material in a final product. Product Stewardship programs and systems can clearly detail and manage chemicals through product lifecycles. These give a company transparency as to compliance with regulations relating to their chemical use and MSDS/SDS and may strengthen worker safety programs concerning appropriate PPE and communication.
RHP provides best practice guidance and expertise to clients by auditing then enhancing systems in place as well as developing new systems for managing and detailing birth to death use of manufacturing constituents. RHP professionals have decades of experience mitigating risks and managing occupational and environmental hazards in industries including construction, manufacturing, healthcare, food production, automotive, agriculture, cannabis, and personal care products.
Who is Affected by Product Stewardship?
Stakeholders and decisionmakers, including producers, consumers, and governments are involved in the product stewardship of materials and products. Examples of the interests of these entities are detailed below.
Manufacturers and production companies of both raw materials and end products in many different industries are directly impacted through the development of state, national, and international regulations that require transparency of use regarding their, ingredients, waste of chemicals, and by-products. These impacts can and do influence the ability to produce, manufacture and/or sell products in various regions around the world.
Consumers, or end users, are impacted by anticipating and evaluating a product for its utility, residual effect, waste impact, and the predicted product lifetime. Community members and the environment are influenced as products enter the end of their intended use lifecycle and enter a waste stream. Consumers can be influenced when concerns of potential for consumer users exposure are reported. When product stewardship concerns are not considered and mitigated a product’s success can be paralyzed in terms of consumer exposures or environmental and community impacts.
Analyzing a product’s lifecycle can provide insights into regulatory concerns at the local, state, national, and international level. Governance surrounding product stewardship encompasses public health concerns, environmental concerns, and communication through proper labeling, warnings, and safe-use advertising. Product stewardship strategies encourage companies to create highly impactful, efficient, and effective production pipelines.
Creating and Implementing Effective Product Stewardship Strategies
RHP’s environmental health and safety (EHS) experts develop, evaluate, and implement effective product stewardship strategies and incorporate such strategies to customize workplace safety solutions. RHP’s EHS team works in line with RHP product stewardship professionals to audit and adapt product manufacturing processes to mitigate exposure risks to the consumer and to the environment. We work to facilitate corporations into compliance with regulatory requirements and to keep steady in compliance. Our experts use sophisticated and accepted methods to model the materials and substances of concern in their approach to identify and measure exposure risk that includes process evaluation, MSDS/SDS review, and hazardous storage advisement. To develop reliable, reproducible and transparent exposure risk measurements, RHP professionals and experts conduct modeling that follows a tiered approach in addition to performing exposure simulation studies on products in RHP’s Exposure Science Laboratory.
Contact RHP Risk Management
Contact our industry experts and professionals today to learn more about our product stewardship consulting services.