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www.psi-network.de PSI Journal 10/2016 Increasing change in awareness Companies can no longer be indifferent to how they are perceived. Public opinion, NGOs such as Greenpeace, the press and legislators have long adopted the topics of product safety, quality, fitness for purpose and social responsibility. The consumer goods industry is setting standards in more and more areas that to some extent already integrate quite high quality criteria. A quality-conscious consumer clientele has evolved, and the change in awareness is also enhanced by organic and sustainable considerations. Recipients of promotional products are primarily consumers and even transmit their demand for quality to products they have received for free: In the case of promotional products, function, design, durability, material and safety have to meet the recipient’s expectations. Quality enhances image According to the GWW Promotional Product Monitor in 2016, 85 per cent of advertising companies use a promotional product because they assume that the recipient will use the product often and for a long time, and they can Quality as a competitive advantage Quality is a must, even in the promotional product industry. In order to support PSI member companies in their efforts to offer standard-compliant and safe products, PSI has enlisted the services of Intertek, a leading, globally operating provider of quality assurance, as a cooperation partner. Martin Mündlein, Director of Global Project & Service Management, explains how PSI companies can benefit from this partnership. »The authorities at home and abroad are increasingly focussing on promotional products.« Martin Mündlein » What has led to the increasing demand for quality assurance measures? There are certainly a number of reasons: Firstly, here in Europe and worldwide, the legal requirements of issues surrounding consumer protection have been redefined as new scientific findings g are being incorporated into legislation. The REACH regulation, for instance, monitors the use of chemicals in the EU, including the use of substances of very high concern used in consumer products. As the case arises, REACH makes special quality assurance measures necessary. In Europe, but also worldwide, a higher awareness of quality and safety is developing. Interestingly, China has become an important market for quality assurance services. In addition, there are issues such as sustainability and corporate social responsibility which boost demand. If, for example, a major customer has his suppliers audited by Intertek, such a project often runs for years. How do you assess promotional products in terms of safety and quality? In principle, promotional products are branded consumer goods. Therefore, they are subject to the same rules that apply to consumer goods. The responsible businessman has to ensure that only promotional products that comply with legal requirements are put on the market. The rules are thus quite clear. I know lots of PSI companies that take their responsibilities seriously and sincerely care about the safety and quality of their products. However, in the case of some companies, I am beginning to wonder whether they know what they are doing: conversations, behaviour, continued on page 37 >> continued on page 36 >> 35

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