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Chair of CHSA Warns Against ‘Unscrupulous Providers’

hair of CHSA Warns Against ‘Unscrupulous Providers’
17 January 2023 | Updated 19 January 2023
 

Lorcan Mekitarian, Chair of the Cleaning & Hygiene Suppliers Association, outlines how in the midst of economic uncertainty, FMs must look for CHSA accreditation when procuring cleaning products.

Lorcan Mekitarian's entry into the plastics industry started at Napier University and then at Newcastle Polytechnic. He joined Bpi in 1990 as an R&D technician at its Stockton on Tees site. He provided technical support to the business before moving into a commercial role as a Sales Manager for the Refuse Sack Division. Over the past 25 years, he has held a variety of commercial positions within that division before finally heading it up as Commercial Director of the Heanor Refuse Sack production facility. Lorcan was part of the group of sack suppliers who came together in 1999 to start the CHSA Refuse Sack Accreditation Scheme which has fundamentally changed the market for the better. He was elected Chair of the CHSA Council in 2019.

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Picture: a photograph of Lorcan Mekitarian. Image Credit: CHSA

 

The Cleaning and Hygiene Landscape in 2023

 

With economic analysts, including the International Monetary Fund, predicting 2023 will be tougher than 2022, buyers of cleaning and hygiene products need to beware of unscrupulous providers.

Anyone offering low costs solutions is probably cutting important corners. Our advice to facilities managers is to specify the CHSA Accreditation Scheme mark. It’s the only way to guarantee quality and product specification. Our Standards, Your Guarantee.

2023 is likely to challenge business in the cleaning and hygiene sector. The continued war in Ukraine looks set to continue. Its impact on energy prices along with the post-lockdown hike in demand has driven up inflation and so interest rates. China’s prolonged lockdown shrank its economy and, despite its sudden opening up at the end of 2022, analysts predict it will have a difficult start to the year. As China’s factories get back to work the pressure on raw materials is likely to intensify, increasing costs. This is bound to impact UK-based businesses in the cleaning and hygiene sector, many of which import raw materials and products from the country.

 

"Busy facilities managers are under pressure to cut costs without compromising on health and safety. They are trying to balance demand with staff shortages, while also dealing with new ways of hybrid working. They do not have the time or resources to check every product they purchase."

 

Other uncertainties global supply chains may have to navigate in 2023 include the war in Ukraine, the heightening tension between China and Taiwan, the additional bureaucracy resulting from Brexit and uncertainty in the US as the country enters its next Presidential Election cycle.

The resulting upward pressure on the price of finished products is unstoppable. History tells us when this happens, the unscrupulous cut corners. They compromise on product quality and quantity to offer seductively low prices. The reality, however, is if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Busy facilities managers are under pressure to cut costs without compromising on health and safety. They are trying to balance demand with staff shortages, while also dealing with new ways of hybrid working. They do not have the time or resources to check every product they purchase. In relation to cleaning and hygiene products, they cannot, for example, measure the width of rolls of soft tissue or count the number of sheets. They cannot check the duty of each plastic refuse sack. They cannot check what is inside the box matches the description on the label for every product they buy from a cleaning and hygiene distributor. If they specify CHSA Accreditation, they do not have to.

The CHSA set up our first Accreditation Scheme in 1997 to tackle exactly this problem. Rogue traders were offering soft tissue products that were narrower or shorter in length than specified on the label. The Accreditation Scheme for manufacturers of Soft Tissue required manufacturers to state the length and width on the label and to be certain the product inside matched the description: “what’s on the box is what’s in the box”.

 

Standards You Can Trust

 

Maintaining standards is at the heart of everything the CHSA does. Today we have six Accreditation Schemes. They are for manufacturers of paper-based products, plastic-based products, cotton-based products, and cleaning chemicals, for general manufacturers and for distributors of cleaning and hygiene products.

The integrity of the schemes matters. It is maintained by the Independent Inspector. They audit every member at least once a year. As well as checking the member’s quality control procedures, they sample products for testing. They also audits every applicant to confirm they meet the CHSA’s standards. It means they make hundreds of visits every year and audits thousands of products.

We also conduct rigorous due diligence on every new applicant to the Association. This process involves confirming all marketing and product claims can be substantiated by hard evidence, for example EN test results. This is followed by an audit of the product range and quality assurance procedures. They are welcomed into the Association only if they successfully complete due diligence and pass the audit.

We value the reputational integrity of the Schemes and will always act to protect it. In autumn 2022 we issued a “cease and desist” order to a Turkish manufacturer claiming CHSA Accredited Status. Taking action in this way when necessary is how we make sure buyers and users of cleaning and hygiene products can trust our mark. Our standards, your guarantee.

Our advice to buyers is to look first for the Accreditation Scheme logo to guarantee quality. If there is any uncertainty about the legitimacy of the manufacturer’s or distributor’s claim, check our website. It carries a full list of members. If they are not listed on our website, they are not Accredited by the CHSA.

 

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Picture: the CHSA logo

 

Every CHSA member has also signed the CHSA’s rigorous Code of Practice. It requires them to “maintain a high standard in the conduct of its business”.

The combination of our Code of Practice and Accreditation Scheme membership means every member:

  • Trades ethically and sustainably;
  • Provides quality, fit-for-purpose products; and
  • Makes sure what’s on the box is what’s in the box

 

Committed to the integrity of the Schemes, the CHSA’s governing Council will expel any Scheme member who, despite being offered the guidance required to correct issues, consistently fails to conform to the relevant Scheme Standard.

Picture: a photograph of a person cleaning a public area with chairs and tables. The person is cleaning a tabletop with a cloth and bottled spray. Image Credit: British Cleaning Council

Article written by Lorcan Mekitarian | Published 17 January 2023

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