Since QCA was founded in 2008, much has changed. There are more regulations, greater consumer awareness and increased pressure from brands to provide products that are safe and responsibly sourced.
However, some things remain the same. Keeping up with all the changes is just as difficult today as it was then. Moreover, going it alone seems like an insurmountable task. That’s why QCA was formed, to ease the burden promotional products suppliers experience when trying to meet buyer demands on product safety and quality, social responsibility, supply chain security and environmental impact.
While suppliers shoulder much of the responsibility, they’re not the only ones who have an obligation to deliver on the promise of brand safety. The entire supply chain—including distributors and end buyers—must have a vested interest to transform the way our industry does business beyond a handful of forward-thinking companies.
Enter a new participation model.
Becoming More Inclusive
We spent much of 2018 taking a long, hard, in-depth look at ourselves, our current program structure and the industry so we could determine the relevance of the current path and where any course corrections were needed. We realized there is considerable opportunity for brand safety to have greater impact and meet buyer demands through expanded participation on both the supplier and distributor sides. So we got to work modernizing our organization. It started with building a restructured participation model and fee structure that is more engaging and inclusive with distributors and end buyers while keeping our overall mission and standards intact.
The new participation model consists of four categories:
- Accredited Suppliers
- Advocates (Distributors of promotional products)
- Certified Distributors and Decorators
- Affiliates (Users of promotional products)
By revitalizing the structure, distributors are empowered to collectively have a greater say in their supplier expectations for brand safety and responsible sourcing. Currently, small distributors lack the voice to push suppliers to go above and beyond. However, the new participation model allows a greater number of smaller distributors to collectively have a voice while at the same time enabling distributors and decorators of all sizes to be held to a higher standard through more accountability via certification.
Additionally, the inclusion of direct end-buyer engagement allows for organizations of all sizes to publicly communicate their expectations to our industry. By becoming a part of QCA, these organizations will become part of the solution by helping to make our industry better.
With the expanded reach of the participation model, a new fee structure has been created to allow for a modest investment that will be an outward sign of their commitment to responsible sourcing. This financial stake sends a clear message to industry stakeholders regarding the expectations for transparency and accountability.
Making The Commitment
Now suppliers have a choice to make. To have a robust compliance program, certain costs are simply a part of the deal regardless of if suppliers work with an organization or go it alone. With the new fee structure, we want to help lessen the burden on suppliers so the program is affordable and attainable yet still adheres to the stringent standards that remain in place. Thus, getting involved will have more to do with a willingness to do what is right rather than a cost to participate.
For us to live out our mission and values, it’s essential that we adapt. That’s what this new participation model is all about. This revised structure gives us an opportunity to engage a greater diversity and variety of voices in the conversation around brand safety and corporate social responsibility. We can assist our trade association and industry compliance leaders in protecting and growing the industry. By meeting buyer demands, we can further cement promotional products’ place within the marketing mix. And, that’s good for everyone involved.
Won’t you join us? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.