SERI audits have been a useful tool for increasing conformance and identifying other opportunities for improvement. Almost 70 SERI audits were conducted in the past 18 months which led to the identification and removal of 9 non-conforming recyclers from the R2 Program. Areas of concern were identified at other facilities, 7 of which resulted in suspensions. In most cases, however, education and recommendations from the R2 assessor helped the companies to implement better conformance strategies.
While no law, regulation or standard will ever achieve 100% compliance by 100% of the population, they are still effective tools for raising the overall performance bar. Since the introduction of the R2 Standard in 2008, the number of recyclers/refurbishers implementing safe and sustainable standards continues to increase, and those within the industry are holding their downstream partners to a higher level of scrutiny and accountability. Corporate clients and suppliers are also subjecting their ITAD and recycling partnersto a higher level of scrutiny. Certification has been – and will continue to be – an effective means for increasing awareness in the marketplace, and changing the collective mindset regarding the importance of safer and more sustainable practices for electronics reuse and recycling.
SERI audits also have underscored the need for better education for recyclers and auditors. To that end, a variety of new training materials and opportunities were introduced in 2016.
For recyclers -
- New modules were added to the R2 Implementation Guide. The Implementation Guide is not a “how-to” guide, but it does provide a good starting point for understanding each of the provisions of the R2 Standard. It also provides examples and templates that can be useful tools for companies preparing for certification.
- Intermediate Training Modules for each of the 13 provisions of the R2 Standard were added to the SERI website. The training modules cover every requirement within each provision along with additional explanation and clarification of the requirements. The Intermediate Training Modules have had more than 540 views since they were posted in October 2016.
(For those new to R2 certification, the Intro to R2 webinar is recommended as a pre-requisite.)
For auditors –
- Enhanced, on-site mandatory training for all R2 auditors, followed by a comprehensive qualification exam. This 2-3 day course has been extremely effective in equipping auditors to perform robust audits – and in identifying auditors who need more training before they can qualify to audit for the R2 Standard. To date, 77% of the course attendees have passed the final exam, meeting the rigorous benchmark imposed by SERI. Raising the bar for auditors will improve overall conformance to the R2 Standard and level the playing field so that the standard is applied consistently to all recyclers.
As a pre-requisite to the course, auditors must have a good understanding of the R2 Standard, Guidance Document and Code of Practices. It is also strongly recommended that they have experience as a 14001/18001 Lead Auditor. (Auditors lacking R2 knowledge should avail themselves of the R2 training opportunities offered by SERI and observe several R2 audits prior to attending.)
An additional 70 auditors have registered to take the course prior to the August 2017 deadline.
Space is still available for the March 28-30 training in Bangalore, India. Plans are also in the works for an additional training session in the early summer of 2017. Some interest has been expressed for courses in Japan and China using interpreters. SERI will gauge the level of interest to determine the feasibility of scheduling such courses. Upcoming sessions will be posted in the R2 Update newsletter and on the SERI website.