Quality Certification Alliance: Protect Your Brand
Quality Certification Alliance (QCA) is an independent, not-for-profit, accreditation/certification organization whose mission is to provide the promotional products industry with a common set of third-party standards in an effort to consistently offer brand safety assurances to organizations that utilize branded products as part of a broader marketing mix.
QCA is the only coalition dedicated to ensuring accountability and independent validation of corporate responsibility throughout the promotional product industry’s supply chain. Users of custom-branded merchandise can work alongside industry distributors and suppliers to advocate for brand safety through the responsible sourcing of those products.
QCA provides industry companies with the best practices to consistently provide safe, high-quality, socially compliant and environmentally conscientious merchandise that enhances brand safety for users of promotional products. We work with suppliers, manufacturers, distributors and decorators in the promotional products industry to elevate control processes employed in the manufacture, import, decoration and distribution of products to ensure merchandise is safe, high quality, ethically sourced and considerate of environmental impact.
QCA certificate and accreditation compliance programs utilize a gap-analysis approach to validation supported by independent, third party audit that confirms a promotional products company has effective processes in place intended to detect and deter any non-compliant product from entering the marketplace. The QCA Compliance Programs harmonize the ever-increasing array of compliance tools, identifies the most rigorous standards, measures these standards, and continuously revises and updates the measures and methodology to reflect evolving concerns.
QCA Accreditation/Certification is granted to companies who are able to demonstrate through this rigorous process compliance 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. For details about the QCA Accreditation Program, click here.
Highest Industry Standards
Providing safe and suitable promotional products is an essential component of doing business in today’s hyper-competitive environment. Fortune 1000 clients expect safe and compliant products, and smaller businesses are also beginning to require the same assurances. QCA Accreditation increases buying confidence because it protects brand equity throughout the entire supply chain: from the promotional products supplier, through the distributor, to the end buyer and ultimately to the final user.
QCA Supplier Compliance Accreditation Program
QCA Accreditation is recognized throughout the promotional products industry and amongst branded product users as the premier brand safety and responsible sourcing solution. We accredit the entire manufacturing and sourcing process for strict adherence to our five pillars of compliance: product safety and regulatory compliance, social accountability, environmental stewardship, product quality and supply chain security.
Companies with QCA Accreditation can be confident they have a proactive and comprehensive compliance program in place. These standards not only address product safety and quality issues, but also regulatory, social, and environmental requirements. These standards also protect the reputation of the industry. When one company has an issue, it reflects poorly on the industry as a whole.
- All Accreditations require bi-annual renewal, annual mock recall exercises, and that companies are subject to annual third party audit obligations.
- QCA Accreditation minimizes the unnecessary risks of non-compliance.
- QCA Accreditation ensures processes are established and regularly tested, increasing recall preparedness.
QCA Distributor Compliance Programs
In an industry where key customers are household names seeking to promote their corporate brand with promotional products that embody their corporate principles, a Distributor’s compliance processes are a consumer-facing brand’s first line of defense against bad publicity for a product they didn’t manufacture. QCA introduced a phased credential program, offering three qualifications to the Distributor – Distributor Advocate, Distributor Compliance Certificate, Strategic Sourcing Certificate.
- All Distributor Applicants are required to successfully complete the Distributor Advocate Questionnaire. The Distributor Advocate credential is awarded on completion and renewable on an annual basis.
- The Compliance Certified Distributor Program requires Distributors to:
- fully document their compliance program policies, procedures and processes,
- demonstrate the effectiveness of the program in a third-party audit of their headquarters, and
- address any deficiencies noted in those audits.
- Once completing the Distributor Compliance Certification Program, a company may proceed to the Distributor Strategic Sourcing Certificate. The Strategic Sourcing Certificate requires the Distributor to validate compliance processes not only in their headquarters’ operations, but also throughout their supply chain.
Validated Responsible Sourcing Program
Since 2009, the QCA Compliance Program is responsible for 450+ production sites (factories) located in 23 different countries being audited to the most rigorous compliance standards in the branded merchandise (promotional products) industry. Audits include:
- 1700+ Factory Audits
- 600+ Initial Social Accountability Audits
- 550+ Initial Quality and Product Safety Systems Audits
- 320+ Initial Supply Chain Security (CTPAT) Audits
- 100+ Follow-Up Social Accountability Audits
- 100+ Follow-Up Quality and Product Safety Systems Audits
- 60+ Follow up Supply Chain Security (CTPAT) Audits
*Production sites with multiple names have been consolidated.
QCA is classified under the US Internal Revenue Code as a 501(c)(6) organization. Our product is education and information. QCA is subject to the private inurement doctrine, which means no benefit may accrue to any individual member, nor may unequal standards of membership be applied. (QCA is legally obligated to use the same measuring stick regardless of company size, name or location.) Lastly, funding for QCA is based on dues and fees for service. Note: QCA does not certify product or set standards.
An example of a similar board structure would be PhRMA. The PhRMA Code pertains to the design, development and introduction of new drugs to the marketplace and the obligation to educate stakeholders on the role new medicines play in patient care. Consistent with this, a Code revision in 2008 limited promotional items to only those with educational value. QCA’s board, like PhRMA’s, represents the industry’s leading companies which are devoted to advancing the industry and protecting end-users of products.
Giving brands the power to protect their reputations through controlled, accountable and transparent indirect supply chains.