The two environmental certification programs for electronics processing, R2 and e-Stewards, both recently announced changes to their facility inspection protocols.
Firms certified to the R2 standard, as well as the auditors in charge of giving them the stamp of approval, will now face an added level of scrutiny. Under the recently unveiled Witness Audits program, officials from Sustainable Electronics Recycling International (SERI) will shadow auditors during routine visits.
SERI, which administers R2, says the goal is "to evaluate [auditors'] understanding of the R2 standard and associated guidance, as well as to assess the implementation of the R2 standard by the recycler."
Firms certified to the e-Stewards standard, meanwhile, will receive unannounced inspections.
The Basel Action Network (BAN), which created the e-Stewards standard, this week announced the Performance Verification initiative. Under the program, facilities certified to the e-Stewards standard will periodically receive unannounced visits by inspectors to verify "ongoing day-to-day performance in meeting the … standard."
Both SERI and BAN said the new programs aim to strengthen their respective certifications in a quickly evolving industry.
SERI said its move would improve consistency among auditors and occur on "randomly selected" visits. The initiative will begin in either March or April. SERI also expects to introduce "spot audits" in 2015, with information on that program expected to be released next month, according to the group's newsletter.
Greg Swan, certification director and interim director at e-Stewards, said his group's inspection move aims to ensure e-Stewards members are meeting customer expectations.
"It’s clear that major enterprise and government customers demand greater accountability from our recyclers in light of the numerous horror stories of private data releases and widespread dumping of toxic e-waste overseas, as well as in local landfills and warehouses," Swan stated.
Last fall leaders from both certification programs indicated shifts in their auditing efforts were in the works.
*For more information go to http://resource-recycling.com