Basel Action Network (BAN) announced today a new Performance Verification (PV) initiative to increase rigor and confidence among stakeholders in its e-Stewards® certification program, already considered to be the "gold standard" for responsible recyclers of electronics worldwide.
The PV will involve random unannounced on-site facility inspections to verify ongoing day-to-day performance is meeting the e-Stewards Standard. The inspections will be in addition to the normal, prescribed yearly scheduled third-party audits accomplished by accredited certification bodies.
The new program, approved unanimously by the multi-stakeholder e-Stewards Leadership Council, will commence in May. The program will be conducted as a pilot throughout 2015 with e-Stewards volunteers leading the way in the program's development. The call for volunteers will be issued this week along with a notice of changes to the standard to accommodate the program. The program will be funded by a $250 per-site levy on current e-Stewards Recyclers' auditable sites. This cost is expected to be more than compensated as increased confidence in the program attracts new enterprise customers.
"The response to this idea from our e-Stewards Certified Recyclers and their customers has been overwhelmingly positive," said Greg Swan, Certification Director and e-Stewards Interim Director. "It's clear that major enterprise and government customers demand greater accountability from our recyclers in light of the numerous horror stories of private data releases and widespread dumping of toxic e-waste overseas, as well as in local landfills and warehouses."
Precedence for heightened and unannounced oversight activities exists with many standards already, including the European Union's CE Marking program related to medical device safety and with the NAID certification program for information destruction.
"We seek to provide an opportunity for e-Stewards recyclers to demonstrate they operate every day in accordance with their own management systems and the e-Stewards Standard," said Swan. "In turn, this provides customers with greater confidence that we are indeed ‘always accountable'."
During the inspections, e-Stewards recyclers will be asked to demonstrate conformity with selected requirements of the e-Stewards Standard. If evidence is discovered which shows day-to-day operations are not in accordance with the Standard, appropriate action will be taken to safeguard the brand and to ensure the non-conformance dealt with commensurate with the gravity of the circumstances discovered.
"We're very proud of the deep support for the e-Stewards certification program that upholds the highest principles in fostering health and safety, global environmental protection, and data security," said Jim Puckett, BAN's Executive Director and founder. "Already we have the support of over 50 large Enterprise businesses and cities, including Raytheon, San Francisco, San Jose, Bloomberg, Wells Fargo, Boeing, and Bank of America, as well as the support of over 70 environmental organizations. And this year, we will uniquely enhance the rigor and confidence in our program through the industry's only real-time verification of truly responsible e-cycling."