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CPSIA: Understanding The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act

December 28th, 2012 No comments

Do You understand how the CPSIA affects your promotional productsAre You Familiar With The CPSIA and How It Can Affect Your Promotional Items?

Austin, Texas: Eco Marketing Solutions has Product Safety as one of its tenets in its Code of Conduct.

It is imperative to understand how the CPSIA rules and regulations can affect your business- as certain items may be classified as a children’s items–whether or not it was originally intended to be that way.

Some of the many determining factors include product use, intended audience, distribution method, decoration, embellishment or design and other factors.

Don’t be caught off-guard.

Download the latest Guide To Navigating The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, which can become your one source for CPSIA information. This book covers everything from a definition of a children’s product, to standards and regulations, to specific supplier and distributor information and even answers to your most frequently asked questions.

Best of all, work with a promotional products distributor who has a deep and clear understanding of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act.

It can save your company a great deal of money, time , aggravation, stress and embarrassment.

Eco Marketing Solutions stays current with the latest in CPSIA rules and regulations, and continues to write, speak and blog about the Act on a regular basis.

Don’t take CPSIA for granted.  Work with a knowledgeable firm that understands labeling and packaging requirements to stay current with this ever changing ruling.

Knowledge of the law can be worth the price many times over.

Let us know how we can help answer any of your CPSIA concerns with regard to your upcoming promotional products campaign.

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Facebook.com/ecomarketingsolutionsAsk us Your Green Marketing Questions Anytime at  Facebook.com/ecomarketingsolutions and join the conversation.

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In addition to being a noted writer on issues of social and safety compliance, Robert Piller recently completed his CAS degree — one of the highest honors in the promotional products industry for his years of continuous education and certification. His company’s website, EcoMarketingSolutions.com, features over 25,000 eco-friendly promotional items in all price ranges, for any business or organization interested in going green. The site’s handy search tool helps you easily find biodegradable, organic and recycled imprinted promotional items in your price range and time frame.

Robert Piller, President of Eco Marketing Solutions, has over 28 years of experience in running and implementing green marketing campaigns and is a leader in the recycled promotional products industry, including offering one of the largest selections of recycled and reusable water bottles and imprinted coffee mugs, reusable and organic tote bags, recycled pens and pencils in the country.  You can also reach him by email (robert (at) ecomarketingsolutions.com) or comment on his blog postings at GreenSpotBlog.com or below at his Twitter link.

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Watered Down CPSIA Bill Finally Passed

August 22nd, 2011 No comments

Austin, Texas: Nearly three years after Congress passed the original new Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act has become a bill (CPSIA), President Obama has signed a separate bill modifying the controversial legislation. The amendments to the law, recently passed almost unanimously by the U.S. House and Senate, expand the discretion of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), allowing regulators greater flexibility in directing third-party testing standards.

The amendments specifically address several enforcement questions that have lingered since 2008, clarifying product exemptions and the responsibilities of manufacturers. In effect, the new law narrows the CPSIA’s lead-testing requirements to products manufactured since the date of enactment, creates certain exceptions for small-batch manufacturers (annual revenues under $1 million) and removes lead limits for used children’s products. As part of the changes to the CPSIA, the CPSC must also seek public comment on ways to reduce the burden and cost of third-party testing.

On the topic of tracking labels, the CPSC now has authority to exclude specific products from previous mandates. If the commission determines that placing a tracking label on an item is not practical, a manufacturer will earn an exemption. The legislation also seeks to ease some manufacturers’ concerns about the CPSIA database, which allows virtually anyone to post complaints about a product. The CPSC is now required to stay publication for five extra days when it receives notice of materially inaccurate information. The CPSC must also attempt to get a serial number or a photo of an item from the consumer questioning the safety of a product.

The amendments, while providing more authority to the CPSC in determining testing requirements, have not changed the action schedule regarding lead limits. The amount of lead allowable in children’s products dropped from 300 parts per million (ppm) to 100 ppm on August 14, but only products that are manufactured after this date will have to adhere to the stricter limits. The mandate applies to all manufacturers, importers, retailers and distributors of children’s products.

This looks like a compromise bill that looks better on the surface than it actually is.  It is completely watered down, and in the climate of economic uncertainty, it appears that business interests came before health and safety.

I do not know why the government even bothered with such an ineffective law, unless it was just for appearance sake. It appears to have many loopholes and exceptions, and personally, I think it is a complete sham.

We can do better.

Are the lobbyists running this country– or concerned citizens? No wonder the Tea Party movement has resonated so fast.  People are getting fed up with a governmnt that wastes time on issues– but never comes up with solutions.

The role of government is to provide a safety net for its citizens–military,roads, education and public safety.  Can’t they get any of these right?

Ask Us Your Green Marketing Questions Anytime at  Facebook.com/ecomarketingsolutions and join the conversation.
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Robert Piller, President of Eco Marketing Solutions, has over 25 years of experience in running and implementing green marketing campaigns and is a leader in the recycled promotional products industry, including offering one of the largest selections of reusable and organic tote bags, recycled and biodegradable water bottles, recycled pens and pencils in the country.

His company’s website, EcoMarketingSolutions.com, features over 25,000 eco-friendly promotional items in all price ranges, for any business or organization interested in going green. The site’s handy search tool helps you easily find biodegradable, organic and recycled imprinted promotional items in your price range and time frame.

You can also reach him by email (robert (at) ecomarketingsolutions.com) or comment on his blog postings at GreenSpotBlog.com or below at his Twitter link.

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Looks Like the Government is Thinking of Watering Down CPSIA Law Already

May 24th, 2011 No comments

Congress may water down CPSIA lawsA House of Representatives subcommittee has proposed legislation that would amend the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA).

The bill would limit some of the lead limits allowable in children’s toys, as well as reduce some of the testing and labeling rules in place in the current incarnation of the CPSIA law. The new proposal also aims to limit the scope of products governed by the CPSIA to items meant for children six and under (rather than the current age of 12), and which can be swallowed or put in kids’ mouths.

“Today we are taking an important first step toward making the CPSIA the kind of truly landmark legislation it was originally intended to be,” said committee chair Mary Bono Mack (R-CA). “When CPSIA was signed into law in 2008, it modernized and strengthened the Consumer Product Safety Commission in many different and meaningful ways. It was also the first significant reform of the CPSC in nearly two decades.”

The House proposal aims to make the law reduce some of the testing burdens that have been placed on American businesses, while also ensuring consumers that the products they purchase are safe. “While CPSIA has many virtues, there are some unintended consequences of the law as well,” said Mack. “Over the past four months, we have carefully reviewed the provisions which have turned out to be ‘overreaching,’ and today we are offering legislation to fix them. Admittedly, this is a careful balancing act, but even the Consumer Product Safety Commission has recognized the problems with CPSIA and requested greater flexibility in implementing the new law.”

The proposal has passed a subcommittee voice vote, and is now scheduled to be considered by the full Energy and Commerce Committee this week. Click here to read the bill.

Looks like the business lobby has trumped the public health of our citizens.

Way to go Congress! Let’s pat ourselves on the pack during re-election while we explain why we think it is OK for kids 6-12 to have more lead in their diets.

And I thought no legislation could be passed in this Congress?!?!

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Robert Piller, president of Eco Marketing Solutions, is experienced in green marketing campaigns and recycled promotional products.  He has worked to help plant over 25 million trees through his live tree seedling gift program over the past dozen years.  His company’s website, EcoMarketingSolutions.com, features over 25,000 eco-friendly promotional items in all price ranges, for any business or organization interested in going green. The site’s handy search tool helps you easily find biodegradable, organic and recycled imprinted promotional items in your price range and time frame.

You can also reach him by email (robert (at) ecomarketingsolutions.com) or comment on his blog postings at GreenSpotBlog.com or below at his Twitter link.


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Product Safety & Social Compliance Statement

April 4th, 2016 No comments

Eco Marketing Solutions is committed to conducting all of our business activities with integrity, social responsibility and in compliance with all legal and ethical standards of each of the countries we conduct business in.

We carefully vet all our suppliers and their factories as both quality and safety are our most critical concerns.

Eco Marketing Solutions and its manufacturers shall comply with all applicable national, state, provincial and local laws and regulations, industry standards, UN Conventions, and any other requirements that pertain to product safety, employment practices and product manufacturing.

Eco Marketing Solutions requires strict compliance with this commonly accepted Code of Conduct from all of our suppliers, manufacturers, subcontractors and other production facilities. Eco Marketing Solutions believes that by insisting on compliance, it will allow us to offer safe products, produced in a safe environment, while complying with all applicable national, local and international laws and regulations. To do this, they must ensure compliance with the following:

 

Child Labor

 

Eco Marketing Solutions absolutely forbids the use of child labor as defined by ILO and United Nations Conventions or by the national law of the country where the work is being performed.

All employees must meet the country’s minimum age requirement to act as labor.

All factories that conduct business with Eco Marketing Solutions must maintain official records that verify the employee’s date of birth and date of employment. This documentation must be available for inspection at any time.

Forced Labor

 

Eco Marketing Solutions prohibits the use of prison or forced labor in the manufacturing of our products. This policy extends to all other third party suppliers or subcontractors that are involved in the manufacturing of Eco Marketing Solutions’ products.

 

Wages, Hours and Benefits

 

Our manufacturers and their associated suppliers must comply with all laws regulating wages, working hours, overtime and employee benefits for the particular country in which they are located.

All workers must be paid at least the national minimum wage.

 

Freedom of Association

We respect the rights of employees to associate or organize without fear of reprisal or interference. If employees are represented by an organization recognized under law, we respect the right to bargain collectively.

 

Prohibition of Discriminatory Practices

 

Workers will not experience discrimination in hiring, remuneration, access to training, promotion, termination or retirement based on gender, age, religion, race, caste, social background, disability, ethnic and national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, or any other personal characteristics.

Health and Safety

 

The workplace must be a safe and healthy environment based on the recognized international standards, local laws and regulations.

The factory and all work areas must be well lighted and ventilated.

The workplace must have sufficient operational and inspected fire extinguishers, and people trained to operate them. The workplace must also have functioning fire alarms.

All work areas must have clearly marked exits. These exits must remain unlocked and accessible during all working hours.

All doors, aisles, exits, stairwells and traffic areas are to be kept clear and accessible for easy evacuation.

All equipment must be maintained in good operating condition and up to code.

All factories must provide a well-stocked first-aid kit in each work area.

 

Environmental Issues

 

All factories must abide by all local and national environmental laws.

The factory must have in place policies and procedures for waste management, handling and disposal of chemicals and other dangerous materials. All emissions and effluent treatments must meet or exceed minimum legal and regulatory requirements.

Eco Marketing Solutions insists our vendors and their associated suppliers share our commitment to a clean and safe environment.

Eco Marketing Solutions reserves the right to either conduct its own inspections or have an appointed third party organization conduct inspections of Eco Marketing Solutions’ supplier’s factories, workplace environments, employment practices, records, and facilities at any time to ensure they are operating at a level meeting or exceeding Eco Marketing Solutions’ high standards.

California Proposition 65 Statements

 

All products shipped by Eco Marketing Solutions into the State of California are subject to Proposition 65 regulations. Proposition 65 is also known as The Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986. Proposition 65 was originally enacted to protect California citizens and the State’s drinking water supply from various chemicals determined by a state agency to cause birth defects, cancer or other diseases or harm. Over 850 chemicals are now included on California’s list of Proposition 65 chemicals. A complete list of chemicals can be found at www.oehha.ca.gov/prop65.

Proposition 65 requires any person or company to give a “clear and reasonable warning” to any individuals before “knowingly and intentionally” exposing them to any of the listed Proposition 65 chemicals during the course of doing business. The regulation includes activities that involve manufacturing, assembling, distributing, storing, selling or any other activity that involves the transfer of consumer products.

This warning must occur unless the person or company can demonstrate that the exposure to the chemical is so small that it causes “no significant risk” or “no observable effect.” For most of the Proposition 65 chemicals, the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment has determined “safe harbor” levels of exposure. As long as the chemical level falls below the “safe harbor” level, no warning is required.

Eco Marketing Solutions is committed to providing high quality, safe products for our customers. We have always and will continue to work with our vendors and suppliers to ensure all raw materials purchased from them will meet Proposition 65 standards. In addition to Proposition 65 compliance, Eco Marketing Solutions has also instituted testing and documentation procedures to help ensure that all of our products comply with all federal and state requirements.

Companies are becoming increasingly vulnerable to lawsuits relating to Proposition 65. Any section of Proposition 65 may be enforced by the California Attorney General, local district attorneys, and private plaintiffs filing suits in the public interest. Proposition 65 does not just cover items manufactured in California. It covers all products entering California. Businesses located outside the state that ship products to California fall under the regulation.

Eco Marketing Solutions’ efforts have primarily focused on the third party testing for signs of lead content in our products. Lead has traditionally been the primary concern for our customers and the main focus of Proposition 65 litigation. Our third party testing is designed to confirm that the product’s lining and exterior meet “safe harbor” requirements for lead content that have been accepted by Proposition 65 and California courts.

Eco Marketing Solutions cannot test every piece of product it ships into California and has not tested its products for every one of the over 850 Proposition 65 chemicals in addition to lead. Because of this, our customers may have some concern regarding Proposition 65 compliance. One option to ensure compliance is to include a label on all products that may ship to the State of California.
The label would state the following: WARNING: This product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm.

Please contact us for more information on Proposition 65 and Eco Marketing Solutions’ compliance program.

 

Statement of Lead Content in Inks

 

Eco Marketing Solutions is committed to providing high quality, safe products for our customers. Eco Marketing Solutions is continually working with our vendors to ensure all materials used in the production of our products meet all federal and state health and safety standards, including California Proposition 65.

Eco Marketing Solutions purchases inks and other supplies from a number of suppliers throughout the United States. Our ink suppliers have conducted extensive testing to document the lead content for all ink systems we currently use to decorate our products. The lead content of all the inks Eco Marketing Solutions uses meet all current local and federal regulations. Testing data is available upon request.

CPSIA Compliance

 

Eco Marketing Solutions has developed a comprehensive program to ensure products manufactured for our company comply with the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) of 2008. Eco Marketing Solutions CPSIA program includes testing for all CPSC-regulated standards applicable to our products, including lead content and lead in substrates, products containing certain phthalates and lead in paint and surface coatings.

Certain sections of the law do pertain to the Promotional Products Industry, specifically to those items classified as Children’s Products. All the items found in our online catalog are designed to meet applicable Federal and State regulations. However, these items are not designed for, or intended for use by children (unless marked otherwise). Despite this, Eco Marketing Solutions has undertaken testing campaigns to ensure that certain products that may appeal to children meet CPSIA requirements.

Eco Marketing Solutions utilizes accredited third party testing labs. These testing labs issue certificates to substantiate that the tested products meet all applicable CPSIA requirements.  Eco Marketing Solutions also maintains General Certificate of Compliance (GCC) forms for all products in our line that may appeal to children as well as products requiring general certification. These forms are available upon request.

Depending on what is reasonably practical, Eco Marketing Solutions satisfies the tracking label requirement by providing compliant tracking information on either individual item labeling or more commonly on packaging.

Though some CPSIA issues remain open and fluid, Eco Marketing Solutions wants to assure our customers that we are vigorously pursuing compliance with not only CPSIA, but all federal and local regulations and that we have a comprehensive testing and documentation program in place.

Categories: Eco-Friendly Businesses Tags:

Another CPSC Clothing Recall: When Will They Ever Learn?

December 16th, 2013 No comments

Does Your Promotional Products Company Know How to Help Avoid Costly Consumer Product Recalls?

choosing-promotional-productsAustin, Texas: I just read about another clothing recall for girls hooded sweatshirts –recalled because of drawstrings in the hood.

Although not a single injury was reported, these hoodies were recalled because of the possibility of a choking hazard.

Now, I’m not promising that you will never have a product that catches the attention of the Consumer Product Safety Commission — but I can assure you that our team is very diligent in avoiding potential problems.

Does your promotional products distributor understand CPSIA and all of its ramifications?

Is price your only concern when buying promotional products – or is value and safety more important?

Use a promotional products company that understands CPSIA and all of your potential risks and liabilities.

Promotional products are a great way of building brand awareness, creating community and capturing market share.

Don’t let them ruin your reputation instead.

Choose your promotional products distributor wisely.

An ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of prevention

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Robert Piller, President of Eco Marketing Solutions, has over 30 years of experience in running and implementing green marketing campaigns and is a leader in the recycled promotional products industry, including offering one of the largest selections of organic promotional products,   imprinted bamboo promotional items, imprinted live tree seedlings and plant giftsseeded paper promotional items,  recycled imprinted pens and pencils in the country.

In addition to being a noted writer on issues of social and safety compliance, Robert Piller recently completed his CAS degree and BASI degree — one of the highest honors in the promotional products industry for his years of continuous education and certification.

His company’s website, EcoMarketingSolutions.com, features over 25,000 eco-friendly promotional items in all price ranges, for any business or organization interested in going green. The site’s handy search tool helps you easily find organic and recycled imprinted promotional items in your price range and time frame.

Eco Marketing Solutions has a strong Code of Conduct as they carefully vet and qualify all their suppliers.

You can also reach him by email (robert (at) ecomarketingsolutions.com) or comment on his blog postings at GreenSpotBlog.com or below at his Twitter link.

Facebook.com/ecomarketingsolutionsAsk us Your Green Marketing Questions Anytime at  Facebook.com/ecomarketingsolutions and join the conversation.

Follow ecomarketing on Twitter Follow Me on Pinterest

Follow Eco Marketing Solutions on Google+

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Choosing the Best Eco-Friendly Promotional Products For Promoting Your Green Marketing Message

December 6th, 2013 No comments

5 Ideas to Help You Select the Right Eco-Friendly Promotional Products For Your Next Event

tips on choosing the right promotional productsAustin, Texas: One of the most frequent questions we get from customers is ” How do I choose the best eco-friendly promotional product for my event?”

First, the bad news: There is not any ONE best promotional item for all our needs.

If there were, my website would contain just that one item–and not 50,000+.

Now, the good news is that choosing which is right for you is simple if you can answer the following questions:

1) What Type of Event is This For?

Trade Show? Conference? Holiday Gifts? Earth Day Event?

Match the promotional gift for the event so that they will not be tossed out at the airport– or thrown away because the recipients will be outside and do not want to carry a tote bag with them all day.

2) Who Will Be Attending This Event?

It goes without saying that you will want to match the promotional items with the correct demographics.

Are these for children?  If so, you will have to be concerned with Consumer Product Safety Issues (CPSIA) and regulations.

Are these for students?

For politicians?

For parents

Think about the target audience before selecting the right promotional item.

3) What is Your Goal in Distributing these Promotional Items?

You should have an idea of what your goal is:lead generation, getting a donation, having the person go to your website, education, etc. Without a clear-cut goals, how will you be able to measure your effectiveness.

4) How Will You Be Distributing the Promotional Gifts?

Will you be mailing them out. If so, size and weight come into play.

Will you be handing them out at a trade show? They usefulness and imprint size take center stage.

5) What is Your Budget?

Determine your overall budget and cost per recipient.

Then decide if all recipients should be getting the same gift–or if you can divide that budget into A, B and C clients–depending on their potential business- and order accordingly.

Where do Your Customers Usually Make Their Purchase Decisions?

Try to visualize the place that your customers contact you when they need to place an order.

In their car??  Then a gift that will be on their dashboard or cup holder would be the best idea.

At the office?  Then own their desktop space–pens, calendars, USB drives, etc.

At their home…well you get the idea by now.

The right eco-friendly promotional gift can be used again and again– and keep your message and brand front and center.

The wrong item can waste quite a bit of money.

Also, don’t use the same item year after year–unless your ROI is phenomenal.

And don’t use the same item for every event–as you will not be most effective.

Choosing the right eco-friendly promotional item for your event s simple if you just give a little thought ahead of time.

Use a promotional products professional that can help match your budget and message to the right eco-friendly promotional products.

Happy Promoting!

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Robert Piller, President of Eco Marketing Solutions, has over 30 years of experience in running and implementing green marketing campaigns and is a leader in the recycled promotional products industry, including offering one of the largest selections of organic promotional products,   imprinted bamboo promotional items, imprinted live tree seedlings and plant giftsseeded paper promotional items,  recycled imprinted pens and pencils in the country.

In addition to being a noted writer on issues of social and safety compliance, Robert Piller recently completed his CAS degree and BASI degree — one of the highest honors in the promotional products industry for his years of continuous education and certification.

His company’s website, EcoMarketingSolutions.com, features over 25,000 eco-friendly promotional items in all price ranges, for any business or organization interested in going green. The site’s handy search tool helps you easily find organic and recycled imprinted promotional items in your price range and time frame.

Eco Marketing Solutions has a strong Code of Conduct as they carefully vet and qualify all their suppliers.

You can also reach him by email (robert (at) ecomarketingsolutions.com) or comment on his blog postings at GreenSpotBlog.com or below at his Twitter link.

Facebook.com/ecomarketingsolutionsAsk us Your Green Marketing Questions Anytime at  Facebook.com/ecomarketingsolutions and join the conversation.

Follow ecomarketing on Twitter Follow Me on Pinterest

Follow Eco Marketing Solutions on Google+

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Going Green Also Means Vetting Your Vendors More Carefully

November 13th, 2013 No comments

How Well Do You Vet Your Vendors?

how do you qualify your promotional products providerAustin, Texas: When was the last time you actually vetted any of your vendors?

Do you trust every ad or product claim that uses the word “green” or “eco-friendly”?

Even the word “natural” gets green washed these days. Just because something appears on the planet naturally does not mean I want to ingest it (take that natural elements Plutonium and Polonium!!)

I received an urgent call this morning from a former client that decided to order his annual shopping bags from another vendor this year in order to save 6 cents each on 20,000 bags.

After five years of producing their bags, they decided to “go in another direction”, according to the new sales manager.

Though a $1200 “savings” is nothing to sneeze at — it is not “cheapest”–but “best value” that wins the battle in the long run.

Bottom line, those 20,000 bags  that they had paid for and ordered have been randomly tested and found to contain lead content that far surpasses allowable levels–so they are all going to have to be destroyed.

My hope is that any reputable promotional products company would have strongly suggested getting a lead test from from certified third party source prior to production and using only a well-vetted factory that understands CPSIA and other consumer safety regulations.

We always do that on import bag orders..and yes a third party lead test can cost several hundred dollars. But it is worth every penny.

Now, the sales manager is scrambling to find an American-made tote bag that we can produce for him in time.

It will be a cotton bag as nobody produced laminated polypropylene in the US..so his costs will be 2-3 times the cost of the imported bag.

Add to that the wasted money on the first bags he had ordered through a different company– and these imprinted tote bags will cost him way over budget.

Promotional products all look similar.  In fact, many are very similar and often come from just a handful of factories.

The key is knowing which are the right factories to choose.

But the difference in your promotional product order is the experience that your distributor brings to the table–in terms of product selection and problem avoidance.

Yes–problem avoidance.  I was going to say problem resolution – but avoiding problems is much simpler if you know what you are doing from the start.

Spend some time and carefully vet your suppliers.

Be sure your vendors are up-to-speed on CPSIA, Green Guides and other consumer product safety laws and regulations.

Do they have a strict Code of Conduct?

The promotional products that you hand out are a reflection of your company.

Don’t cut costs by reducing quality or bending rules (or ignoring them altogether).

It is easy to be the cheapest guy on the block.

It is another thing to be in the promotional products business since 1981 and be up-to-speed on product quality and safety issues — and save the client from embarrassment, poor publicity and costly product recalls.

Which path do you prefer?

Are you willing to pay a few pennies more for peace of mind?

Happy Marketing.

Here’s to a greener tomorrow, today.

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Robert Piller, President of Eco Marketing Solutions, has over 30 years of experience in running and implementing green marketing campaigns and is a leader in the recycled promotional products industry, including offering one of the largest selections of organic promotional products,   imprinted bamboo promotional items, imprinted live tree seedlings and plant giftsseeded paper promotional items,  recycled imprinted pens and pencils in the country.

In addition to being a noted writer on issues of social and safety compliance, Robert Piller recently completed his CAS degree and BASI degree — one of the highest honors in the promotional products industry for his years of continuous education and certification.

His company’s website, EcoMarketingSolutions.com, features over 25,000 eco-friendly promotional items in all price ranges, for any business or organization interested in going green. The site’s handy search tool helps you easily find organic and recycled imprinted promotional items in your price range and time frame.

Eco Marketing Solutions has a strong Code of Conduct as they carefully vet and qualify all their suppliers.

You can also reach him by email (robert (at) ecomarketingsolutions.com) or comment on his blog postings at GreenSpotBlog.com or below at his Twitter link.

Facebook.com/ecomarketingsolutionsAsk us Your Green Marketing Questions Anytime at  Facebook.com/ecomarketingsolutions and join the conversation.

Follow ecomarketing on Twitter Follow Me on Pinterest

Follow Eco Marketing Solutions on Google+

Follow Me on Google +

Can Saving a Few Cents on Promotional Products Cost You More Money in the Long Run?

May 3rd, 2013 No comments

be sure to know teh values of your promotional products dustributorThere is More to the Value of a Promotional Product Than Its Initial Cost

Austin, TX  Are all promotional product distributors the same?

I was asked to submit a bid by a city a few months back for some promotional products.  I usually stay away from the bidding process, but since it was a six-figure bid and would not take more then twenty minutes to complete, I sent the completed form back anyway.

We were not the lowest bid.  Not even the fifth lowest bid.

Actually, our bid for imprinted promotional products came in somewhere in the Top 15% of all 36 bids they received.

Fast Forward to today.

The promotional product, which was intended for people of all ages, got recalled due to non-compliance with the CPSIA laws (Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008).

That’s right. Because of non-compliance with existing laws, the product was deemed to be unsafe to children 12 years and younger– and this nightmare is costing the city — and this particular vendor – hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines, litigation, product recalls, etc. — to say nothing about reputation as the scandal made the local news and social media landscape.

Now, answer the question: Are all promotional product distributors the same?

There are over 30,000 distributors of promotional products in the country.

Most are part-timers with little or no overhead working on price as their only point of distinction.

Very few vet their suppliers.

Very few have a corporate code of conduct.

Very few take advanced classes and seminars and webinars and achieve advanced recognition and degrees from their associations

Very few take the time to read and understand compliance issues.

Very few even know what the letters CPSIA stand for–let alone how it can affect YOUR business and reputation.

Very few blog about marketing issues and product safety.

Very few have liability coverage in case of situations like the one just mentioned.

Very few take the time to help select the right promotional products for your particular needs and target audience.

We do.

So, if we are 4 or 5 cents higher on a $2.99 water bottle – isn’t it worth it to ensure that it is lead-free?

Isn’t a few extra pennies per item worth it to ensure that the promotional product you order is not going to come back and cost you — in terms of reputation, quality of imprint, liability, etc.?

Penny wise-pound foolish is a phrase that resonates strongly with our company – and with our clients.

I have been selling promotional products since 1981  .. and I still have many of the same clients that I worked with 30-plus years ago .. because I look after THEIR best interests.

There are hundreds of imprinted water bottle factories, and about the same number of tote bag factories, I can choose from.

So can my competitors.

I stick with the ones that have strong codes of conduct and quality control standards and ones that comply with CPSIA and other regulations to avoid embarrassing and costly issues.

By saving a few cents, you force your promotional products distributor to walk that thin line of going with an inferior or less reputable factory over one that ensures the highest industry standards.

I would argue that you would be better off ordering 3% fewer items than paying 3% less for an item – if it means using a better factory that meets and exceeds of industry and governmental regulations.

Now, I ask you again: Are all promotional product distributors the same?

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Robert Piller, President of Eco Marketing Solutions, has over 28 years of experience in running and implementing green marketing campaigns and is a leader in the recycled promotional products industry, including offering one of the largest selections of recycled and reusable water bottles and imprinted coffee mugs, reusable and organic tote bags, recycled pens and pencils in the country. In addition to being a noted writer on issues of social and safety compliance, Robert Piller recently completed his CAS degree and BASI degree — one of the highest honors in the promotional products industry for his years of continuous education and certification. His company’s website, EcoMarketingSolutions.com, features over 25,000 eco-friendly promotional items in all price ranges, for any business or organization interested in going green. The site’s handy search tool helps you easily find biodegradable, organic and recycled imprinted promotional items in your price range and time frame.

Eco Marketing Solutions has a strong Code of Conduct as they carefully vet and qualify all their suppliers.

You can also reach him by email (robert (at) ecomarketingsolutions.com) or comment on his blog postings at GreenSpotBlog.com or below at his Twitter link.

Facebook.com/ecomarketingsolutionsAsk us Your Green Marketing Questions Anytime at  Facebook.com/ecomarketingsolutions and join the conversation.

 


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5 Steps to Avoiding Product Recalls on Your Promotional Products

November 8th, 2012 No comments

Be Sure Your Promotional Products are CPSIA Complaint to Avoid Recalls and Legal Issues

Tips to prevent product recall on promotional productsAustin, Texas: Although it seems like the  promotional products budgets seems to have increased for the majority of firms this past year as the economy picks up, the number of lawsuits have also increased.

Promotional products made overseas for large retail companies have been getting recalled at an alarming pace for lead content – either in the product or on the embellishments or imprint inks. This list includes shirts, water bottles, magnetic items –to name a few.

These companies should have known better as these recalls were easily avoidable with a little due diligence.

However, what is a smaller company to do to navigate the safety waters and to avoid product recalls and bad publicity for the promotional products.

Here are some tips to consider when ordering promotional products safely:

1) Learn the Law. Congress passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA) aimed at protecting children 12 years of age and under from all products containing lead and phthalates.

2) Try to determine if your promotional product is for children or for general use.  This is a judgment that a court might determine–not for you to decide for the court.     Some obvious things to consider:

  1. a- Is it a game or a toy?
  2. b-Is it brightly colored?
  3. c-Does it have a licensed character on it?  Even if it is an adult XXL men’s sweatshirt, if it has a cartoon character or licenced character on it – it might very well be construed as a child’s item.
  4. d- Does it appeal to a child 12 years or under?

3) Get proper testing and certification. If you will be importing your promotional products, it pays t spend a few hundred dollars getting third party certification.  The company that you purchase these items should know how to get this done.

If you are ordering off-the-shelf stock promotional items, ask for the certification certificate for that item.

4) Vet your Promotional Products Distributor. Work with a promotional products distributor that has experience in compliance and carefully vets his suppliers for product safety and social compliance.   We make sure everybody has taken classes on CPSIA compliance and has a firm knowledge in the law and its ramifications.

5) Err on the side of safety and caution. When in doubt, redesign the product so that it cannot be misconstrued as a child’s item — or get the certification that is required just to be on the safe side.

Promotional products can be a great way to market your brand and to reach a targeted audience.  It has one of the lowest cost per thousand impressions of any form of advertising out there.

Just cross your T’s and dot your I’s – and work only with a promotional products company that understands CPSIA to avoid any unplanned issues.

Here’s to a successful promotional event.
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Facebook.com/ecomarketingsolutionsAsk us Your Green Marketing Questions Anytime at  Facebook.com/ecomarketingsolutions and join the conversation.

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Robert Piller, President of Eco Marketing Solutions, has over 28 years of experience in running and implementing green marketing campaigns and is a leader in the recycled promotional products industry, including offering one of the largest selections of reusable and organic tote bags, recycled and biodegradable water bottles, recycled pens and pencils in the country.

In addition to being a noted writer on issues of social and safety compliance, Robert Piller recently completed his CAS degree — one of the highest honors in the promotional products industry for his years of continuous education and certification.

His company’s website, EcoMarketingSolutions.com, features over 25,000 eco-friendly promotional items in all price ranges, for any business or organization interested in going green. The site’s handy search tool helps you easily find biodegradable, organic and recycled imprinted promotional items in your price range and time frame.

You can also reach him by email (robert (at) ecomarketingsolutions.com) or comment on his blog postings at GreenSpotBlog.com or below at his Twitter link.

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How Important is Quality and Social Compliance When Choosing Your Promotional Products Vendor?

January 24th, 2012 No comments

Product Safety and Quality Taking a Lead Role in Promotional Products

How high on your list is quality and safety when choosing advertising specialties?Austin, Texas: In my years of experience, I can sort the buyers of promotional products  into four main classifications:
1) Price is King

2) Need it Yesterday

3) Gimme the Newest, Latest & Greatest

4) Image is Everything

Up until recently, those four categories were sufficient. Sure, there were splinter groups–insisting only on eco-friendly promotional products or only promotional products Made in the USA.

But, with CPSIA and other health and safety related requirements and lawsuit threats, product safety and quality needs to become number one for any company that fears potential negative feedback or legal issues.

Eco Marketing Solutions has committed itself to working only with leading factories and suppliers that hold compliance issues at the forefront and build it into their business culture.

In fact, many of our top suppliers are active or founding members of the Quality Certification Alliance, an independent, accreditation organization whose mission is to elevate the standards by which industry firms that import and/or manufacture promotional products provide consistently safe, high-quality, socially compliant and environmentally conscientious merchandise.

QCA Accreditation is granted to companies who complete multiple independent third-party audit and comply with stringent standards, which are based upon a combination of state and national laws, international standards and industry-accepted best practices that are recognized for their strength and effectiveness by QCA Accredited companies, the promotional products industry and end-user clients.

According to the QCA website, in order to provide the accountability necessary to assure buyers and end users that products meet applicable measures of compliance, QCA Accreditation tests not only for the presence of and completeness of compliance programs but also the effectiveness of these programs in detecting and deterring noncompliance. This comprehensive program assess five key areas:

Product Safety

A QCA Certified Supplier has policies and procedures that are robust and able to detect and deter non-compliant product from shipping to customers. Corporate brand equity is also protected by reducing the need for product recalls, thus keeping news of any unsafe product out of the headlines. The processes include:

  • A commitment to assuring consumer safety and brand security
  • Design guidelines that cover legal and product performance requirements as well as raw material specifications
  • A product approval protocol that assures only product meeting specified design guidelines is approved for manufacture
  • Testing guidelines for internal evaluations and third-party assessments
  • Mechanisms for assuring traceability
  • Recall protocols

Product Quality

A QCA Certified Supplier has procedures in place governing product quality from design through manufacturing that provide a means to monitor and verify quality standards are maintained throughout the process. An expectation of quality is established with:

  • A formally documented Quality Manual
  • A process that assures only product for which an approved standard exists are manufactured
  • Inspections for both pre- and post-shipments
  • A process for evaluating root cause and assigning corrective actions
  • Supplier qualification programs

Supply Chain Security

A QCA Certified Supplier’s policies and procedures meet the security criteria established by U.S. Customs’ C-TPAT (Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism) program that protects our borders. A supply chain security program should encompass both domestic and offshore process and facility review. It should include:

  • Container security
  • Facility physical security
  • Procedural security
  • Access control
  • Supply chain visibility

Social Accountability

A QCA Certified Supplier’s policies and procedures ensure that those facilities that are part of its supply chain adhere to legal and ethical standards that are based on internationally agreed upon protocols of the UN Global Compact. These include:

  • Worker’s rights
  • Legal compensation requirements
  • Physical working and living conditions
  • Worker safety

Environmental Stewardship

A QCA Certified Supplier’s policies and procedures promote an ongoing stewardship of the environment, which includes:

  • Compliance with local environmental regulations
  • Recycling
  • Restriction and monitoring for banned substances
  • Resource management

Does it cost a little bit extra to go with factories that test and re-test for the highest quality standards? Yes, but only minimally.

When we checked prices between QCA products and similar non-accredited products, there was a price discrepancy of between 1.4% and 5.7% on 100 randomly selected items, with an average of 2.33% difference.

Is it worth it to your organization to pay an extra 2.33% to ensure the highest standards in quality and product safety?

If you are looking for the absolute cheapest promotional products without concern for safety or social responsibility, we are not going to be your best bet.

If you are looking to get promotional products that portrays your brand and image in the most positive light, we aim to be your client and partner in your marketing efforts.

Give us a call and let’s discuss how we can help you promote an environmental message in a socially responsible way.


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Robert Piller, President of Eco Marketing Solutions, has over 25 years of experience in running and implementing green marketing campaigns and is a leader in the recycled promotional products industry, including offering one of the largest selections of reusable and organic tote bags, recycled and biodegradable water bottles, recycled pens and pencils in the country.

His company’s website, EcoMarketingSolutions.com, features over 25,000 eco-friendly promotional items in all price ranges, for any business or organization interested in going green. The site’s handy search tool helps you easily find biodegradable, organic and recycled imprinted promotional items in your price range and time frame.

You can also reach him by email (robert (at) ecomarketingsolutions.com) or comment on his blog postings at GreenSpotBlog.com or below at his Twitter link.

Follow ecomarketing on Twitter