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3 Takeaways From ICPHSO That Will Impact Your Business In 2023

14
Dec

Global Registration Services and American Law Label were proud to be exhibiting sponsors of ICPHSO (International Consumer Product Health & Safety Organization) in Brussels, Belgium. The event was held in conjunction with International Product Safety week at the European Commission. 

Individuals traveled from across the world to represent industry, regulatory agencies, and advocacy organizations — bringing the brightest and most thoughtful minds together to share, learn, and dialogue with one another about product safety and compliance. 

As a longtime exhibitor at ICPHSO, we find ourselves seeing familiar and new faces — building upon longtime relationships and starting new ones. But equally as important as a networking opportunity, we become aware of trends, challenges, and best practices to consider for the coming year.

Making Product Safety Organizational Priority

At a high level, the conference underlined the importance of product safety as a value versus an organizational priority. Only from that point can the process of ensuring consumer safety be humanized and not just a box to check. 

From a practical sense, industry and regulatory representatives discussed the importance of including a variety of stakeholders in the process from the beginning. As an example, purchasing, design, packaging, and marketing have a shared goal of bringing a product to market but each are focused on a different element. 

Without clear communication and ongoing collaboration, product safety and compliance requirements can be missed when one or more teams aren’t working in tandem with one another. 

Setting Expectations for E-Commerce

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) also shared what many of our partners are already feeling, which is that e-commerce will continue to be a significant area of their team’s focus. 

Specifically, they outlined that they expect e-commerce retailers/wholesalers to:

  • Put consumers and their well-being first
  • Improve outward-facing communication strategies
  • Critically examine where harm is occurring with special attention to whether or not systemically excluded/vulnerable populations are impacted disproportionately
  • Improve recall procedures — time, method of communication, ease of navigation 

Addressing The Challenges of E-Labeling

Along the same lines, e-labeling was a hot topic of discussion amongst industry and regulatory agencies. E-labeling consists of digitizing consumer warnings and other information, such as care instructions. 

The struggle is that many products are for sale online and in-person, meaning that completely moving away from physical labels and documentation isn’t necessarily feasible or even a logical goal at this point in evolution of the marketplace. 

Furthermore, shifting to e-labeling as anything besides supplementary to existing practices might also exclude those without the digital literacy or access to the technology needed to use it. As the industry continues to consider e-labeling, these and other considerations will continue to be at the forefront of discussion.

Recap

In summary, there is a push towards consumer safety being at the forefront of decision making — not only for the sake of compliance but as a thoughtful business practice. Furthermore, as the industry makes room for more online transactions, regulatory agencies are shifting their attention to bring the same requirements and enforcement in place for brick-and-mortar companies. 

This requires some shifts and will no doubt bring about the use of new technologies, standards, and practices. For example, providing customers with information digitally before and after the product is purchased through e-labeling.

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