Suppliers face new retail product standards

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A global standard for consumer goods is a step closer following a deal between the British Retail Consortium and the Retail Industry-Leaders Association in the United States.

In 1998 the BRC established a technical standard for retailers to use with food suppliers and manufacturers. Now the majority of UK, and many European and global, retailers will only consider relationships with food suppliers that have this sort of certification.

The agreement, signed by the BRC and RILA, advances the retail industry’s commitment to ensuring the safe and consistent quality of its products through independent certification of producers’ operations against the BRC Global Standard for Consumer Products. The contract also covers the training and awareness programmes that will help suppliers in their efforts to achieve certification against the Standard.

The contract will kick off with the development of a global communications strategy designed to increase awareness of the standard in North America, Europe and the Far East.

Meetings are planned between the two organisations and others in early September to agree a three-year development plan that includes a series of visits to producing countries such as China to engage with retailers, suppliers and government officials.

Issue 3 of the BRC Global Standard for Consumer Products will be published in January 2010 supported by an interpretation guideline and a number of best practice guidelines covering toys, electricals, furniture, health & beauty, textiles and Jewellery. The standard lays down the requirements that the producer must meet to gain certification.

The BRC has established additional industry standards for operations including packaging, storage and distribution and consumer products. Each of these standards is reviewed and fully revised and updated every three years.

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