Aspects Impacts associated with the company's products - Nonconformance

T

trainer

#1
Wev'e recently been audited by our accreditation body and one of our minor nc's was we had not addressed the aspects / impacts associated with the company's products.

Has anybody else come across this and if so do we do all 2'000 or so products if we did, we have no say as to what material's to make them out of it. Our customer's who are much larger than us would not tolerate that.
Views please
 
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SteelMaiden

Super Moderator
Super Moderator
#2
The standard says:
maintain a procedure
To identify the environmental aspects of your company's activities, products and services, within the scope of your EMS system, that you can control and that you can influence...
Determine those aspects that have or can have a significant aspect on the environment...
Document the above info
Take significant aspects into account in establishing, implementing and maintaining your EMS.

So, yes you need to identify any environmental aspects of your products. I would assume that when you say 2000 products, some of them are similar? Like a family of products? Maybe they look different, but are created from the same raw materials, or something similar? If so, the aspects would be the same for that "family", no?

The main thing to keep telling yourself is don't make it harder than what it needs to be. Find the simplest common denominator so that you are not creating reams of work for yourself. Start with what you are mandated by law to do. See if what you are doing there can serve as documentation for additional requirements of the ISO standard. Chances are that in the case of aspects, somebody somewhere along the line thought about them (how else did they figure out which laws were applicable?) The only thing that you are doing in the standard is documenting that whole process. You'll do fine, just don't let it drive you crazy.
 
T

tigerfan51

#3
Env Aspects and Life Cycle Assessment

In practice most companies have little or no control/influence over the use and ultimate disposal of their products. The 14001 Annex A and 14004 both address this by saying:

" With respect to products provided, it is recognized that organizations may have limited control over the use and disposal of their products, e.g. by users, but they can consider, where practicable, communication of proper handling and disposal mechanisms to these users in order to exert influence. "

Another useful piece of info from the 14001 Annex is:

"The process of identification and evaluation of environmental aspects should take into account the location of activities, cost and time to undertake the analysis, and the availability of reliable data. The identification of environmental aspects does not require a detailed life-cycle assessment. Information already developed for regulatory or other purposes may be used in this process."

So the standard states that an assessment of the full life cylce of a product is not necessary. In my books it should be sufficient for a company to include disposal/recycling instructions for their product and their packaging materials. I have never issued an NC for not including product issues / disposal in an aspect list.
 
#4
trainer said:
Wev'e recently been audited by our accreditation body and one of our minor nc's was we had not addressed the aspects / impacts associated with the company's products.

Has anybody else come across this and if so do we do all 2'000 or so products if we did, we have no say as to what material's to make them out of it. Our customer's who are much larger than us would not tolerate that.
Views please
You have brought in an important issue for discussion. Indeed it is important to identify and assess the environmental aspects of products. It is estimated that about 80 % of the environmental impacts of consumer products arise during the use and disposal of the products. Production and pre-production activities cause about 20 % of impacts; but most of the environmental management systems established so far focus more on this 20% activity related to product manufacturing and other related issues. While it is an acceptable fact that the manufacturer does not have "control" over or cannot "influence" the way the product is used and disposed, he/she has control and influence over the way the product is designed and manufactured. As I have informed in an earlier discussion there are many elements of the product design (e.g. energy consumption, mass, recyclability, presence/absence of toxic substances, packaging, life etc.) that may be identified as aspects and assessed as significant aspects. In fact, if we do not carry out the aspects and impacts assessment of products, we miss an important opportunity to improve our product (eco) efficiency. Your certification auditors have done the correct thing of pointing this out to you (real value addition). In fact, as the Lead certification auditor, I had given a MAJOR non-conformance to the auditee for not addressing product aspects in their environmental management system way back in 1997. Since it is the requirement of ISO-14001 standard to carry out an identification and assessment of aspects of products, I would consider that (especially with 2000 products) there is a major system failure in your case.

With best regards,

Ramakrishnan
 
Q

QMarc

#5
@Trainer:
Could you give us some examples of the products or product groups?
I agree to SteelMaiden - you need to group your products and find the relevant aspects and impacts.

IMHO we need some more informations to help you.

With best regards QMarc
 
T

trainer

#6
We manufacture Brackets & assembly's for the auto, security, & pharmaceuticul industries.
I have already covered packaging, energy, emissions, machining, and so on in aspects and impacts find attached aspects assesment.
 

Attachments

#7
trainer said:
We manufacture Brackets & assembly's for the auto, security, & pharmaceuticul industries.
I have already covered packaging, energy, emissions, machining, and so on in aspects and impacts find attached aspects assesment.
Hello Trainer,

I have two suggestions:

a) I understand that you are making brackets and assemblies made of metals or plastics and that they are not consumer products. As far as you have avoided Cadmium (plating of steel), Chromium (plating and /or passivation), Lead (for soldering), halogenated hydrocarbons (in plastics for fire retardarncy), and thermoset plastics & filled thermoplastics (because they are not recyclable) I will not expect any significant aspect of your type of product. In your aspects and impacts analysis you are showing energy consumption, Machine working, welding etc., as aspects of prodcuts; in fact they are aspects of some of your manufacturing processes. Pease rearrange your aspects and impacts analysis for products to reflect the real aspects, e.g. Aspect: Cadmium plating of the bracket Impact: Air/water/soil pollution at the end of life (or impact on health of people working with the bracket). This will be significant from health and legal angle. (for want of time I am not elaborating further; I am sure this willl give you an idea)

b) Please review your identification of Aspects and Impacts. "Spillage" is not an impact; it is an aspect. Impact is, for example, soil pollution, potential water pollution, air pollution etc. Impact is the change that is effected on the environment. Spillage is not a change in environment - it is an element of your activity - that is an aspect. There are quite a few such "impacts" like "oil leakage", "plastics remelting", "improper disposal" etc. which are actually aspects rather than impacts. As an Auditor I would infer that the understanding of Aspects and Impacts is not adequate and would question the effectiveness of training on this subject.

All the best in fine-tuning your aspects and impacts analysis.

With best regards,

Ramakrishnan
 

SteelMaiden

Super Moderator
Super Moderator
#8
Dr. R makes a good point. Fine tuning is the next step, review your aspects/impacts. I remember being right where you are now. Some of your aspects are in your impact column. You are on the right track, and getting to where you need to be. good luck, keep up the good work.
 
K

Kim Yong Kil

#9
Identify and evaluate aspect for products?

Hi...
I have very similar a question for EIA(Environmental Imapct Assessment) of our products?
Our comppany have not responsibility for product design and development.
We produce and supply to customer Mobile phone module based on customer order. The customer is responsible for design and development of products specification.
In this case.. We have to idneify and evaluate aspect/impact for product?
Also The EIA for product is required within our EMS scope...
I hope very detailed information and answer this matter...
Thanks..
 
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