PPAI’s virtual Product Responsibility Summit 2021 Direct-2-You (D2U) wraps up today, after four virtual days of exploring the business implications, challenges and opportunities of regulatory issues. Tomorrow, PPAI is holding a new event in conjunction with Summit, Logistics Day Direct-2-You. The standalone event offers education focused on the logistics of importing in today’s world and discusses the challenges and pitfalls of international shipping along with best practices to move forward. For more information and to register for Logistics Day, click here.

“Summit is the best educational tool for anyone in compliance,” says Kim Bakalyar, CAS, chief compliance officer/director vendor relations at PromoShop and a Summit attendee. “The topics are relevant to what is happening in the world today and the speakers are experts in their field. I always come away from Summit with at least two things I can put into practice right away. Having the opportunity to network with others in the same position and being able to call on this group when I have questions or am looking for info is invaluable. The wealth of information and best practices that PPAI has put together are my daily go-tos for research, contacts and answers.”

Wednesday’s programming began with a panel discussion on restricted substances lists. A panel discussion, featuring Anne Stone, CAE, PPAI’s director of advocacy, engagement and education; Anne Bonhoff, PhD, principal chemist and corporate fellow at UL GmbH; Andy Blahnik, quality and compliance manager at Gemline; and Shamini Peter, head of sourcing and supply chain at HALO, addressed steps industry businesses can take to demonstrate due diligence, identify the products most likely to be included on the lists and manage the process.

In the day’s second session, Hilde Gunn Vestad, a former director at Lidl, shared 20 years of real-world supply chain mapping experience. Speaking with Brian Campbell, vice president of supply chain compliance at 4imprint, and Nathan Cotter, vice president of compliance at Hit Promotional Products, Vestad shared numerous best practices regarding supply chain mapping, including some of the first steps in the process. These include asking yourself why you want to do it and what is the starting point, agreeing on a definition of what constitutes your supply chain and determining how to approach the mapping process, in terms of order volumes, specific counties, risk levels, etc.

“Transparency is inevitable; it’s coming from a customer perspective,” Vestad said. “It is fair to say that mapping will be built into our businesses. Customers expect it.”

Vestad also spoke on the changing landscape in supply chain mapping. When she started in the field, in terms of risk, the leading concern was child labor and that shifted to forced labor about 10 years ago. A current concern is migrant labor, a growing issue in more developed countries where the domestic workforce doesn’t want to work in factories. At present, COVID is creating a further risk to transparency as factories can’t be visited as frequently.

“Transparency is the backbone of sustainability,” Vestad said. “You cannot achieve sustainability without transparency. No company in the world is going to get away from this. It is everywhere.”

Bakalyar adds that the statement, “’Transparency is the backbone of sustainability’ is so true. The session broke down the process into simple steps and provided a set of easy tools/templates to use. The discussion also provided me tips on organizing the data collected as well as delving into Tier Two suppliers.”

Wednesday’s agenda continued with a pair of breakout sessions, along with a series of roundtable conversations on a range of subjects. One breakout session was a discussion on kitting challenges, and another, presented by Barbara Schweidenback, a technical support specialist with Bureau Veritas, was an update on Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA)’s requirements. The requirements examined included its Unique Device Identification (UDI) requirements for Class 1 Medical Devices specific to first aid kits, sunglasses, toothbrushes and more, as well as the new Over-The-Counter Monograph User Fee Program (OMUFA) and other issues.

Earlier today, Robert Adler, acting chair of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), joined Rick Brenner, MAS+, president/CEO of Product Safety Advisors, for a conversation on the current priorities of the federal agency.

Among his updates, Adler shared an update on three commissioner nominees to CPSC put forth by the Biden Administration to fill pending vacancies. The nominee for chairman is Alex Hoehn-Saric, current chief counsel of the communications and consumer protections subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The commissioner nominees are Mary Boyle, current executive director of CPSC, and Richard Trumka, Jr., current general counsel and staff director at the House Oversight and Investigations Committee’s Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy.

Adler also spoke on CPSC’s work with the FDA to ensure there are no regulatory overlaps regarding PPE and other items falling under FDA jurisdiction as medical devices, noting that the two agencies are working well together to prevent any gaps. He also shared how CPSC had faired under the COVID-19 pandemic, noting that most of its staff, except for port and lab personnel, continue to work remotely. It is aiming for a return to the office in early September, although the agency has learned new ways to be flexible. He also issued an official report on the impact of the pandemic on injuries and deaths—team sport injuries have dropped dramatically, for example, while injuries associated with solo activities are up.

Today’s program also included a session on recall readiness and concluded following a series of roundtable discussions this afternoon.