NCH Story

Posted on May 15, 2014

Product Care: Changing the NCH Landscape

The people behind NCH Corporation care about their products because they care about the people who create them, sell them and buy them. This Texas-based international manufacturer and distributor of industrial and institutional products cares about the environment in which its consumer and commercial products are produced, where its products are sold, and where its products are used. At NCH, product stewardship is synonymous with Product Care.

Product Care, the Household & Commercial Products Association’s (HCPA) product stewardship initiative, is built on principles aimed at evaluating and enhancing sustainability in every step of a product’s life cycle.

“Product Care changed the landscape for us when we implemented it in 2003,” Mark Cohen, Director of Labeling at NCH Corporation, said. “Before a product lands in a consumer’s hands, we have thoughtfully considered its design, ingredients, operation, promotion, reasonable use and disposal through the lens of corporate social responsibility,” he said.

Cohen is Co-Chairman of the Product Care Steering Committee. He was integral in program’s 2001 formation, has implemented the program across five NCH divisions, and his company was the first to put the Product Care logo on more than 400 product labels. At the association’s 2013 Annual Meeting, Cohen was honored with the Chairman’s Outstanding Achievement Award for his work on the Product Care Steering Committee and championship of the initiative.

Global Product Stewardship: An Easy Sell

It’s about protecting workers, users and the environment. It’s about eliminating things that shouldn’t be in the air and the water, and reducing solid waste.Mark Cohen, NCH
Garnering NCH managerial support for Product Care program implementation was easy, Cohen said.  “It’s not difficult for senior management to embrace global product stewardship and quality management. It’s good business sense. Product Care minimizes negative impacts on employees, on the communities in which we do business, on the environment, and on the companies that use our products. It has resulted in improved operations and a better bottom line,” Cohen said.

Cohen contends that Product Care is about putting the right product out the first time. “It’s about protecting workers, users and the environment. It’s about eliminating things that shouldn’t be in the air and the water, and reducing solid waste,” Cohen said.

New Initiatives, Measurable Results

As a result of NCH’s ongoing quality management and product stewardship efforts, Cohen said, volatile organic compounds and other substances of concern have been reduced — and when possible — removed from formulations. Water-based, bio-based and biological product technologies have supplemented and even replaced conventional formulations, providing reduced chemical and physical hazards and better management options for NCH customers, he said.

NCH has also introduced several initiatives for its Industrial and Institutional water treatment and facility maintenance customers. For example, NCH developed and deployed drumless delivery options and container take-back programs and has developed products with more sustainable ingredients and more environmentally favorable profiles.

“Biological product offerings and bio-based products made with renewable resources eliminate the need for traditional, more hazardous maintenance products,” Cohen said. “Many customers employ these chemistries with more benign hazard profiles and reduced environmental impacts in their efforts to protect their workers, their customers and their communities,” he said.

Mentoring New Members

Product Care also goes hand-in-hand with the ISO Quality Management System, which NCH employs, he said. “The beauty of Product Care,” Cohen said, “is its flexibility.  We are in full control of our program. We conduct our self-assessment and determine our own priorities and how best to tackle them. The program expects reasonable progress, but it has a multi-year structure; we set our pace,” Cohen said.

Cohen is also a mentor within the Product Care program, guiding others as they bring Product Care to their own companies.  The stewardship aspect of Product Care ensures HCPA member companies have a forum for sharing best practices and guidance.

“There has never been a better time for a positive voluntary program that supports and encourages all of us to do the right things,” he said.