SCS Certification Process: Managing the Standard
SCS certification is an achievement that is important to us and to the industry as a whole. This series takes a look at the steps involved in gaining SCS certification and breaks them down in layman’s terms.
Once we decided to become SCS certified for fine gold, fine silver, sterling silver, and platinum, we submitted an application to SCS. The process involved providing chain of custody information and demonstrating that we would be able to continually uphold the rigorous standards of the RMS Framework. You can read more about the certification process here.
Once we received certification, the challenge of maintaining the high standards set forth by the RMS Framework began. There was a bit of a learning curve, as our entire staff had to learn new ways of working. Another issue we ran into was simply managing physical space.
Everything in Its Place
We receive all different types of recycled material from different sources. We might receive a shipment of gold, silver, and platinum items all mixed together. It all has to be documented and stored separately, noting the material and the source. Having to organize, label, and store all of this material created difficulties in finding the physical space for it all.
Part of the process involved creating and learning new item codes to designate each type of recycled material. We also use chain of custody codes to document who handled a particular item before it came to us, where it came from, and when and how it made its journey to us. This requires some extra work, but it is a necessary component in complying with the framework and ensuring that everything we process is traceable and legally acquired. A big part of wanting to attain SCS Certification is a desire to keep illicit or illegally mined metals out of the supply chain, and our chain of custody documentation helps us achieve that.
We also maintain documentation with DHF Technical Products, our industrial division in New Mexico. They send us large volumes of gold, silver, and platinum post-consumer waste and things like spent sputtering targets, which are highly pure metal discs used to produce semiconductors and coated glass. We also take those in and document them.
Managing the RMS Framework is a learning experience for us. But it is also a teaching opportunity. Customers often ask us about our recycled metals, either because they are looking specifically to buy recycled metals or out of curiosity as people become more aware of the environmental and ethical concerns surrounding the use and acquisition of nonrenewable resources. As we learn the framework along with the new sorting systems and item codes, we are then able to pass that information on to our customers. We must be able to clearly communicate what SCS Certification means, how it is enforced, and how we comply with the RMS Framework so that they can be sure their needs are being met. The thorough documentation we keep helps with that.
Overall, managing the framework is a matter of learning a new way of organizing material and documenting everything we do. It’s a little extra work, but it’s all worth it in the end, and it just gets easier the more we do it.