Who Is QCA?
For more details on QCA founders, click here.
QCA Accreditation / Certification is granted to companies who complete an 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.
For details on the QCA Certification Process, click here.
For details about each of these areas, click here.
A QCA Certified Supplier has successfully completed the QCA Accreditation Process, which includes third-party audits of its headquarters offices as well as multiple supply chain audits. QCA Certification lasts for two years and includes multiple random off-year audits to ensure the QCA Accredited Supplier continues not only to manage and improve its internal processes but also to effectively detect and deter unsafe or non-compliant product before it enters the supply chain. Only QCA Certified Suppliers in good standing may use the QCA Seal of Approval as well as QCA marketing materials.
QCA Distributor Advocacy Council
In April 2011, a small subset of Distributor Advocacy Group was elevated to become the Distributor Advocacy Council and work more closely with the QCA Board of Directors. This Council is comprised of the distributors who have the strongest commitment to compliance and have chosen QCA Accreditation as a key criterion for selecting their preferred supplier programs when making sourcing decisions.
In May 2012, the Council became even more formalized with the creation of the QCA Distributor Advocacy Council Charter.
1. Compliance is the law.
Federal and state governments are taking product safety very seriously, and they are passing regulations to keep citizens safe from merchandise that is deemed hazardous. While there is much focus on safe products, social policies and environmental regulations also play a significant role in compliance. And since distributors are part of the supply chain, they can be held legally liable along with suppliers.
2. End buyers expect compliance and brand equity protection.
The threat of recall and fines compliance violations is real, and end buyers cannot take any chances of using merchandise that can harm recipients and tarnish their brands. To avoid any mishaps, Fortune 1000 customers have become more proficient at vetting their promotional products supply chains—which includes distributors as well as suppliers. End buyers expect compliance with legislative, social and environmental requirements as a part of doing business today, so distributors must be educated and up-to-date on the latest compliance issues and regulations.
3. Compliance is smart business.
Because of the demands from buyers, distributors are rewarding suppliers that can demonstrate they are compliant. Supplier companies of all sizes are responding to the challenges and opportunities that come as part of the product safety and compliance movement by growing their client solutions. Not having a proactive, comprehensive compliance program has now become a competitive disadvantage for those companies who fail to address these expectations from their corporate clients.
Why Is QCA Important?
QCA Accreditation increases buying confidence because it protects brand equity throughout the supply chain, from the promotional products supplier, through the distributor, to the end buyer and ultimately to the final end user.
Companies with QCA Accreditation have a proactive comprehensive compliance program in place that protects the brand equity of the end user clients by addressing not only product safety and quality but also compliance with legislative, social and environmental requirements.
Additionally, these standards also protect the reputation of the industry. When one company has an issue, it reflects poorly on the industry as a whole. QCA Accreditation eliminates the unnecessary risks of non-compliance and also establishes protocols in the event a recall is required.
For more details on the QCA Accreditation process, click here.
QCA was formed a group of industry thought leaders to address these industry needs by providing the tools required to help companies put the necessary processes in place to deliver consistently safe, high-quality, socially compliant and environmentally conscientious merchandise.
Additionally, independent third-party audits of a company’s headquarters and supply chain are also required as a part of QCA Accreditation. The result is a comprehensive compliance program that 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.
For more information about the QCA Accreditation Program, click here.
We can work directly with your clients to demonstrate the rigor and comprehensiveness of QCA Certification. While progress has been made on a client-by-client basis, having QCA Certification recognized as the industry standard on such a complicated topic will take much education and an element of time.
What is certain, however, is that compliance not a destination, it is a journey—one that our industry should be embracing. But the reality is that many promotional products companies are avoiding compliance, oftentimes due to misconceptions about costs and/or the severity of the ramifications of noncompliance.
QCA Applicants and Accredited Suppliers have invested resources and years of effort into their compliance programs and are significantly better at compliance than most, if not all, of the industry. The question should not be, “Are QCA Accredited Suppliers perfect?” Rather, the questions should be, “Why aren’t other companies developing these types of compliance programs to protect their customers’ brand, and why they spending time fighting the requirements instead of working to meet them?
World Responsible Apparel Production (WRAP) is a factory level certification that was initially focused exclusively on social responsibility, but the program has been expanded to include sustainable manufacture. QCA accepts WRAP certification in lieu of the social accountability component of the QCA Accreditation Program because WRAP includes a focus on capacity building.
The Fair Labor Association (FLA) tends to be more prevalent in the collegiate licensing market space, and this certification is exclusively limited to social responsibility. At this time, QCA does not accept FLA accreditation.
While these certification programs are valid, they are designed to address a specific need. QCA Accreditation is a comprehensive program that covers product safety, product quality, supply chain security, social accountability and environmental stewardship—all the areas in which end buyers and end users expect compliance and safety.
For details on the QCA Accreditation Program, click here.
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