Product safety, ESG and associations

ESG associations

3 minute read

Do you think of product safety as part of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG)? ISO 26000 Standard Guidance on Social responsibility includes consumer product safety as a core part of ESG.

ESG performance is increasingly being embedded into strategies and operations of organisations everywhere – including associations.

If your association covers the consumer market, product safety must be part of your ESG policies and practices.

Associations have opportunities that individual companies do not. Unlike for-profit companies, industry or trade associations are well-poised to influence the entire sector they represent. Because of their size and with support from their membership, associations can help achieve progress toward better product safety – and benefit not only their members but the broader sector.

New guidance specifically for associations

To help associations embrace their potential and foster their ESG leadership, Canadian standards body CSA Group has released a special publication, CSA SPE-116:23, Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for Associations. It’s available at the CSA Store.

The publication aims to  educate and help associations – and their members – develop and meet their ESG/SDG objectives.

Several leading associations in USA and Canada reviewed and supported CSA SPE-116’s development. The publication highlights the opportunities associations can adopt to influence improvements in their sector’s ESG/SDG impacts.

This creates a compelling value proposition for their members.

Leadership on ESG/SDGs can build an association’s credibility, reputation and public trust in the sector or profession, giving everyone a social license to operate and grow.

ESG and product safety for associations

Association product safety leadership in Australia

Associations ESG product safety

This excellent Canadian publication provides guidance that’s also relevant in Australia. I work with several Australian associations that are proactive and embrace their role in product safety. These associations, most notably the National Retail Association, the Infant and Nursery Product Alliance, the Australian Toy Association  and Accord (Hygiene, personal care and specialty products) show great leadership that benefits members, their wider sector and of course consumers.

Benefits of being proactive include taking opportunities to contribute to and influence voluntary standards and regulatory policy. Read how in the Product Safety Solutions e-book How to Influence Consumer Product Safety Policy.

Associations have an opportunity to guide and lead members in this vital area. More Australian associations in the consumer product sector could step up to promote product safety. Plenty of resources exist to guide safer consumer products. The new CSA SPE-116:23 guide provides some new perspectives and tools to help associations serve their members.

If you work at an association, make sure product safety is firmly on your ESG agenda. And if you’re an association member, raise the issue and consider contributing to your sector’s good governance.