COVID-19: ‘Epidemic Prevention Measures’ to Secure the Health and Safety of Our Employees

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COVID-19: ‘Epidemic Prevention Measures’ to Secure the Health and Safety of Our Employees

API_10 Epidemic Prevention Measures
We have implemented extraordinary “Epidemic Prevention Measures” with the 10 following steps (*This does not concern China where we already have a clear plan communicated and where the situation is improving):
  1. We follow the local authorities’ recommendations in terms of health and safety and travel bans or limitations   
  2. Appointment of one Chief Hygiene Safety Officer per office
  3. Self-temperature checks on a daily basis – above 37.5 degrees, the person must report to the Chief Hygiene and Safety officer and their N+1, and consult a doctor
  4. Recommendations on hygiene rules
  5. Guidelines for employees who exhibit flu-like symptoms to stay home and seek immediate medical advice
  6. Any employee whose family or household member is a suspected case or has travelled to known contaminated clusters shall immediately notify the Chief Hygiene and Safety Officer and:  – Refrain from working from the office or travelling to factories until a decision is made by the Chief Hygiene and Safety Officer and their N+1 – If the risk is confirmed – 14 days self-isolation and work from home
  7. Visitors to our offices for face-to-face meetings are not authorised. If face-to-face meetings are necessary, guests must be registered and determined as healthy by the Chief Hygiene and Safety Officer
  8. Employees to minimize social contact, with a limit on the number of teams at the office at the same time and 1m safety distance followed
  9. Everyone wears mask in office or while travelling to factories
  10. A questionnaire for each factory is implemented with each booking to ensure conditions are suitable for inspection and rules of hygiene and safety are also followed by factories
For more information, consult your usual contacts.
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7th July 2020: REACH – Extension of Phthalates Requirements (Entry 51) to Other Product Categories in the EU

As per the European Union additions published in December 2018, the scope of Entry 51 of Annex XVII to REACH Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 has some changes starting on 7th July 2020. The changes include an increase in the number of restricted phthalates from three to four, and an extension of the scope of restrictions as per below:

 

Restricted Substances

Scope of Restriction

Current Entry 51

DEHP, DBP and BBP:
≤ 0.1% by weight of the plasticized material (individually or in combination)

Plasticized materials in toys and childcare articles

Revised Entry 51 as of 7th July 2020

DEHP, DBP, BBP and DIBP: <0.1% by weight of plasticized material (individually or in combination)

All articles containing plasticized materials*

What are plasticized materials?

  • Polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyvinylidene chloride (PVDC), polyvinyl acetate (PVA), polyurethanes
  • Any other polymer except silicone rubber and natural latex coatings
  • Surface coatings, non-slip coatings, finishes, decals, printed designs
  • Adhesives, sealants, paints, and inks

DIBP was frequently used as a replacement for DBP for lots of plasticized materials. With the new restrictions in place, manufacturers will need to look for alternative options to comply with the normative.

What are the main product types affected by the extension?

With the extension of phthalates requirements (entry 51), all articles containing plasticized materials* will be affected.

These can include:

  • Indoor and outdoor furniture
  • Decoration articles
  • DIY items
  • Office supplies and equipment
  • Bathroom supplies and equipment
  • Accessories, gifts and premium items
  • And more.

*Exemptions

(As included in Annex XVII to REACH – Conditions of Restriction)

(a) articles exclusively for industrial or agricultural use, or for use exclusively in the open

air, provided that no plasticised material comes into contact with human mucous

membranes or into prolonged contact with human skin;

(b) aircraft, placed on the market before 7 January 2024, or articles, whenever placed on

the market, for use exclusively in the maintenance or repair of those aircraft, where those

articles are essential for the safety and airworthiness of the aircraft;

(c) motor vehicles within the scope of Directive 2007/46/EC, placed on the market before 7

January 2024, or articles, whenever placed on the market, for use exclusively in the

maintenance or repair of those vehicles, where the vehicles cannot function as intended

without those articles;

(d) articles placed on the market before 7 July 2020;

(e) measuring devices for laboratory use, or parts thereof;

(f) materials and articles intended to come into contact with food within the scope of

Regulation (EC) No 1935/2004 or Commission Regulation (EU) No 10/20111;

(g) medical devices within the scope of Directives 90/385/EEC, 93/42/EEC or 98/79/EC, or

parts thereof;

(h) electrical and electronic equipment within the scope of Directive 2011/65/EU;

(i) the immediate packaging of medicinal products within the scope of Regulation (EC) No

726/2004, Directive 2001/82/EC or Directive 2001/83/EC;

(j) toys and childcare articles covered by paragraphs 1 or 2.

Do you have any questions about how this extension will impact your products?

With the new restrictions in place, brands, retailers and manufacturers must ensure that the products placed in the market do not contain any of the restricted substances. At API, we can provide technical advice and adapted chemical product testing for your affected product categories to ensure your products comply with the new REACH requirements. Our combined expertise in chemistry x manufacturing x household goods and toys allows our experts to provide tailor-made solutions suited to your needs.

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COVID-19: Global Summary of Operating Countries

Access our global summary of your manufacturing and sourcing countries status, updated weekly. 

As the COVID-19 situation quickly evolves, API’s customer service teams are liaising with customers and their factories on a case-by-case basis. 

June 8, 2020

June 08_2020_API


See previous maps:

June 1, 2020

01.06.2020_Overview


April 27, 2020

27.04.2020_Local Operating Status

April 21, 2020

21.04.2020_Countries Overview

April 15, 2020

Global status per country_April 15


April 6, 2020

API_6 Apr


March 30, 2020
API_30.03.2020_overview

For any question or enquiry, please contact your Key Account Manager or Customer Service Representative. 

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API Launches its New Online Platform: API Link™

We are pleased to announce the launch of the new API Link™, a cutting-edge system that will give you and your team improved visibility over your processes and bring you faster results through its user-friendly dashboards.

Customers, suppliers and factories can benefit for free from easy booking, inspection and audit overview at any time of the day from anywhere in the world. Online booking is now available for any country in which API operates the following services:

  • Inspection
  • In-line inspection
  • Pre-shipment inspection
  • Final random inspection
  • Technical audit
  • CSR audit
  • Environmental audit

Some of the benefits of the platform

  • 24/7 overview of ongoing and finished orders in 1 click
  • Order tracking with key milestones
  • Real-time notifications
  • Fast, quality booking

Don’t miss our updates on upcoming features.

Interested in learning more about our platform?

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Higg Index FEM Offsite Verification: Continuing the Path Towards a More Sustainable Supply Chain

API is one of the leading Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) approved verifier and trainer bodies and has been conducting both onsite and offsite verifications (General and Chemical Specialist Verifications) in many countries in Asia and Europe.

Within the context of the current pandemic and its restriction on travel, API is offering Higg Index offsite verifications to facilitate the evaluation of the environmental and social performance of manufacturers and facilities and support them in continuing their path towards a more sustainable supply chain.

Although there are limitations to an offsite verification, all facility types and questions at all achievement levels (including Level 2 & 3 Chemicals) can be verified offsite provided that qualified verifiers are used, including chemical specialists where applicable.

We put our solid expertise in Higg Index at the service of our clients and their factories to ensure the adequate development of a verification remotely.

Please contact us (sustainability@api-hk.com) to discuss your Higg Index Verifications further.

SAC verifier body logo

 

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Ensuring Proper Hygiene & Working Conditions for Your Suppliers: COVID-19 Precautionary Audit

Brands, retailers, importers and suppliers around the world are looking to restart their activity as quickly as possible. However, the health, safety and working conditions of employees remains a key topic to be addressed. The pressure of time and the uncertainty of a context never before seen is not only raising the risk of vulnerabilities and non-compliance in some factories, but is also emphasizing the need for new practices and procedures.

Even the most compliant factories present risks that need to be tackled.

Among some of the critical points to be checked during this period is the review of health and safety systems to ensure prevention and control measures for COVID-19 are aligned with the local guidelines. For example, ensuring an adequate separation between working stations, availability of face masks and procedures for wearing and removing them, process in case of the detection of a suspected case, etc.

And because hygiene and safety are not the only aspects to pay attention to during this crisis, our audit program also includes control of working conditions. Indeed, assessments of the forced labor risk and working hours elevation are essential to prevent the increase of ‘voluntary’ overtime in response to demanding production targets. 

It is within this difficult context that we put our expertise at the service of our clients to help their suppliers get ready for a safe restart with our special ‘COVID-19 Precautionary Audit Program’. Our specialists in CSR audits can support your suppliers to create a safe and hygienic work environment evaluating critical points in the following areas:

  • Health and safety
  • Forced labor
  • Disciplinary practices
  • Working hours
  • Compensation
  • Unauthorized subcontracting

What is API’s Added Value?

At API, our experts consider that hygiene and safety are not the only aspects to pay attention to during this crisis, our audit program also includes control of working conditions. Indeed, assessments of the forced labor risk and working hours elevation are essential to prevent the increase of ‘voluntary’ overtime in response to demanding production targets.

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WORMS SAFETY – Press Release

Official Communication


 
7th of April, 2020 

WORMS SAFETY is now involved in the global fight against COVID-19 with Voisin Consulting Life Sciences (VCLS), the health specialist member of the alliance. In particular, we are supporting, through regulatory guidance, numerous initiatives for the resolution of this sanitary crisis. Some are already at the advanced stage of submission to health regulatory authorities, bringing us closer to a cure. Among them are the repurposing of two existing drugs as candidates for therapeutic treatments, and the development of a new type of life-saving ventilator in the medical devices’ field.

At the same time, WORMS SAFETY specialist members, SgT, Qualspec, API, AQF, Worms Safety Laboratories, Axis, Albhades, IAS, and Challenge Optimum, are addressing operational issues, consequences of the crisis: securing stocks with mold and corrosion prevention measures; redrawing traditional on-site product controls with ‘no-physical-human-contact techno-guided inspections’; etc.

It is also our responsibility to prepare for the day after and beyond with humanity, lucidity, determination, commitment, and even disruption. Agile boots-on-the-ground practices will be instrumental in restarting and minimizing risks, missteps, and delays.

“We wholeheartedly believe that if we want to be protected, we must first protect each other. Selflessness, is the key to get through these unprecedented times and build a safer future for everyone. Please be safe and continue to take good care.”

 

With best regards,  

Thierry LENOIR
CEO

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Going Beyond Finished Product Quality

A preventive approach: moving the focus to the earlier stages of production

Quality has traditionally been approached from a reactive perspective, where costs are predominantly allocated to the control of the finished product. With this approach, the final random inspection and sample testing are still by far some of the most popular services in many manufacturing areas. They allow for the detection of quality issues at the end of production and evaluate the suitability of the goods for shipment. But the chances are high that some defects will occur during the mass production process. What if these defective products represent a significant part of your final production?

Reallocating the quality budget is possible; thinking about the finished product’s quality but moving the focus to the earlier stages of production. A more in-depth look into the factories and their processes will allow you to anticipate negative risks. From the selection of the most suitable manufacturers to the identification of the right raw materials and right practices, this preventive approach also has beneficial effects on suppliers, offering opportunities for improvement and giving them the potential for empowerment.


Moving from final inspections to a deeper look of the manufacturing process

API_preventive model

The earlier the risks are identified, the earlier the solutions can be adopted, thus resulting in the faster implementation of corrective actions, and higher product reliability. By the end, the risk of product reworking or replacement must be significantly reduced, enabling your brand to avoid market delays and extra ‘non-quality’ costs. 

API can provide multiple solutions to help brands, retailers and their suppliers to better manage their manufacturing processes.

Example of reactive vs. preventive approach on a chair 

chair_API

Interested in learning more about API’s preventive solutions?

Ebook preventive

 

Ready To Begin Tackling Preventive Quality Management?
Check Out Our Preventive Quality Management Guide To Get You Started

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Sustainability: Building today for the benefits of tomorrow

COVID-19 has elevated the debate of the importance of sustainability in the long-term, increasing awareness among many companies of the need to consider social, ethical, and environmental standards above short-term profits. While some companies have implemented strong environmental policies in recent years, others have seized the opportunity to embed sustainability into their ‘new normal’ operations instead of considering it a ‘nice to have.’

Whether it is the adoption of transformational sustainability strategies or an approach at a reduced scale, companies can benefit from implementing policies and sustainability programs that make societal sense, positively impact the planet, and result in long-term savings for the company. Brands are increasingly aware of the positive impact of sustainability and the need to incorporate it into their strategies, with 40% of companies having reinforced their sustainability commitments during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a survey from The Business of a Better World (BSR).

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Source: ‘Corporate Sustainability & COVID-19’, May 2020, The Business of a Better World (BSR)

In an era of increasing consumer demand for environmental commitment, a solid sustainability strategy will not merely have a positive impact on customer preferences. It can also lead to economic savings as a result of, among other things, the reduction of water and energy consumption and waste.

To support brands on their path towards sustainability, API is launching a new series of free 30-minute sustainability webinars covering everything from adequate labeling and avoiding greenwashing to the analysis of the chemical management in the supply chain and the positive impact on savings that a sustainability strategy can bring. Register now for our upcoming webinars:

 

Footprint

December 03 – Footprint Study and Labelling

How can you promote your sustainability practices without greenwashing? 

Beginning with an overview of the different criteria required to calculate a product footprint, learn how to provide customers with verified information about ‘eco-labels.’

Register now

Chemical management

December 10 – Chemical Management in the Supply Chain
Brands, retailers, and suppliers are increasingly looking to improve their chemical management. The question remains: How do you assess the chemical risk and enhance the chemical performance of your supply chain? 

Register Now

Positive impacts

December 17 – Sustainability: Positive Impacts with Savings

While environmental sustainability is about taking care of the planet and its residents, it is also about saving money. Less waste, less consumption of water and energy, and fewer chemicals: sustainability is actually an investment in a company’s’ future. 


In this webinar, our expert will share concrete examples of how using the right processes can help companies match their environmental goals with their bottom line.

 

Register Now


Interested in other topics or trainings? 

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Sustainability and CSR at the Bottom of the Line or a Strategic Priority?  [Upcoming webinars]

 

The challenges faced by supply chains and the need to focus on short-term priorities have put CSR and sustainability efforts in the spotlight. Some companies have been struggling to maintain their path toward sustainability while adapting to the ‘new normal’. Others have taken the opportunity to rebuild and refocus on longer-term objectives and more sustainable supply chains.

‘In business, sustainability has become synonymous with credibility.’

In this context of a new normal, consumer preferences are also changing with an increase in the importance of social and environmental causes. According to a survey* by the IBM Institute for Business Value (IBM) in collaboration with the National Retail Federation (NRF), 6 in 10 consumers are willing to change their shopping habits to reduce their environmental impact.

To help companies in their sustainability efforts, API is launching a new series of sustainability webinars starting in November.

Stay tuned for more about our upcoming topics.

*Research study of 18,980 consumers in 28 countries