Product Care® Stewardship
The Product Care Logo demonstrates: When a consumer, manufacturer or supplier encounters the Product Care logo on a product, website or within information materials, what it tells them is that the company has made a commitment to product safety, the environment and a code of management best practices.
Product Care® is a stewardship program sponsored by the consumer and institutional specialty products industry and coordinated by the Household & Commercial Products Association (HCPA). All HCPA members embrace the vision, mission and principles of Product Care. The Product Care principles provide a code of management practices for companies to operate under. These principles are designed to protect health, safety and the environment by carefully designing products, evaluating the use of sustainable materials and packaging, operating safe manufacturing facilities, promoting safe storage and distribution, providing useful product information, answering consumer questions and anticipating product disposal needs. HCPA members can also voluntarily commit to becoming a Product Care Steward by signing a commitment agreement, attending training, conducting a self-assessment and continually improving stewardship activities.
Company product stewardship began well before the Product Care program was adopted in 2001. Companies have long followed policies promoting safe products that provide important health benefits and enhance quality of life, while not adversely affecting the environment. Product Care was built on stewardship programs and provides a framework for companies to identify and commit to stewardship principles, share ideas and information, and benchmark better performance. In 2013 it was expanded from a program to an integral part of the association’s mission and vision.
Product Care History
The year was 2000 and at the Household & Commercial Products Association’s mid-year meeting in Chicago, IL the association’s new president made the case to the membership about the need for a signature product stewardship program to reflect the sustainability efforts that HCPA companies were initiating.
“HCPA saw the need for such a program as critical to the future success of the formulated chemical products industry.”Chris Cathcart, President and CEOAmong the early champions joining HCPA’s leadership to make the program a reality were board member Dana Winn of Procter and Gamble and Bob Hamilton of Amway. These two executives were tapped to lead the effort as chair and vice-chair respectively of a new initiative that would become Product Care. Other HCPA members including Arno Driedger (Stepan Company), Neil Snyder (Reckitt Benckiser), Peter Hess (JR Hess & Company) and Rick Kingston (SafetyCall International) helped to bring Product Care to fruition.
Later that year, the program began coming together as the first draft was presented to HCPA and its Board of Directors at the December annual meeting. At the program’s core was a set of codes of practice covering each aspect of product design, manufacturing and marketing. Seven committees, coinciding with the life cycle of a product, helped draft the guidelines for the new program.
After settling upon the name that would come to define this initiative – Product Care – and creating a logo that resonated with member companies, the program was officially proposed and unanimously approved by the HCPA membership in December 2001 at its annual meeting. Product Care would provide a voluntary Code of Management Practices – a framework of guidelines for developing, manufacturing, distributing and marketing products made by HCPA member companies.
In 2002, HCPA announced the program to Members of Congress, representatives of government and HCPA companies at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. Guest speaker James Fuller, then chief of staff of the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), stressed the cooperative relationship between HCPA and the agency and described Product Care as an “immense tool for consumers and for CPSC.”
That same year, Product Care held its first two-day training seminar, conducted by Winn and Hamilton in Washington, DC. Additional seminars were added in Chicago and Florida. A Product Care business meeting was added to the annual meeting itinerary and by year’s end, 43 companies had committed to participating in the initiative.
Member company stewardship efforts under Product Care were recognized by consumers, regulators and NGOs. Target’s vice president of government affairs publicly supported the association’s efforts and later Walmart would recognize Product Care as an indicator of quality stewardship in the implementation of its Chemical Analysis Review Program. Walmart became aware of Product Care during HCPA’s ongoing discussions with a number of major retailers that were developing an effective means of providing product ingredient information.
During the ensuing years, Product Care has continued to evolve. In 2005, the CPSC supported the use of Product Care’s logo on the label of participating companies. Irving, Texas-based NCH Corporation became the first Product Care participant to place the logo on more than 400 of its products in a variety of categories. ZEP, Inc., a manufacturer of institutional maintenance and sanitation products, became the second member to use the logo on its products, followed by Faultless Starch/BonAmi Company. All are still active supporters of Product Care.
Through Product Care’s first decade, HCPA invested heavily in demonstrating the benefits of Product Care participation to its members. Participation could mean fewer incidents, and decreased insurance premiums. Additionally HCPA companies that joined Product Care became eligible for a 10 percent premium discount when they purchased insurance coverage through CSI Plus, the association’s Consumer Specialties Insurance Company.
In 2013, the program underwent a significant revision to show the continued commitment to Product Care and product stewardship by all HCPA companies. The Board of Directors voted and members agreed, to change the association’s mission to reflect that all HCPA members embrace the mission and vision of Product Care. This change in the association mission states that members agree to “Fostering best practices through Product Care to maximize the safety and sustainability of our members’ products and services.”