SCS Certification: The Application Process
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.
In our previous blog, we talked about the RMS Framework, a voluntary standard for labeling products that contain recycled material. Reviewing the RMS Framework document is the first step toward gaining certification. The document covers what sorts of organizations are eligible for certification, detailing the equipment needed and the thoroughness of the accounting process, from chain of custody transparency to methods of calculating recycled content.
If an organization feels they can meet these demands, they can move to the next step: filling out the application. After creating an account on the RMS website, applicants must then develop an RMS management system following the guidelines laid out for them, and they must then put that management system into practice.
After the organization begins adhering to the standard and keeping rigorous documentation, they can contact SCS Global Services to request certification. SCS is an organization independent from RMS who serves as a disinterested third party for impartial certification purposes. SCS conducts an audit of the organization, paid for by the organization seeking certification, and sends a summary of the audit to GreenBlue. GreenBlue is an environmental nonprofit organization that, together with the NGO NSF International, developed the RMS Framework.
It is a costly process for us, but since we are paying for it, we are even more motivated to make sure we are following the standard to the letter. It’s not a matter of simply buying the rights to a label that we can slap onto a product; SCS has an interest in upholding the integrity of the certification process and will only certify organizations that are committed to earning it. If we don’t adhere to the RMS Framework, we’ve wasted a lot of time and effort.
Not only do we have to provide information about our chain of custody, but every organization within our supply chain who touches our recycled material also has to be certified. Even when companies do their best to track their product from its source, it is very easy for illegal material, such as metals from an unlicensed mine, to enter the supply chain. The rigorous chain of custody standards ensures that our claims of recycled material usage are 100% verifiable and accurate.
After GreenBlue receives a report from SCS, the organization can be entered into their database. We became officially certified after receiving approval from GreenBlue. Now, all we have to do is continue to adhere to the RMS requirements and pass an annual audit to continue to use the RMS label. In our next blog, we’ll take a look at what we need to do internally to manage the standards required.