Growth of the R2 Program
The R2 Certification Program continues to grow, with approximately 730 facilities in 30 countries certified to R2:2013 at the end of 2017. By region, Asia has seen the fastest rate of growth with a 34.8% increase in the number of certified facilities, followed by Latin America (22.7%), Austrailia/New Zealand (11.7%), North America (9.4%) and Europe (7%).
To facilitate this growth, and to assure R2’s quality in these new regions, infrastructure involving CBs, auditors, and consultants is needed. This is a slow process, and in most instances lags a little behind the initial expression of interest in R2 by recyclers in a region. However, the infrastructure is developing, particularly in India and Southeast Asia. To date, 84 auditors have taken SERI’s 3-day R2 Lead Auditor training course (4-days when offered in non-English speaking countries), and have passed the course’s final exam. Eight Certification Bodies (CBs) are now issuing R2 certificates.
Enhanced Training Improving Quality & Conformance
The R2 Lead Auditor training was a significant accomplishment in 2017. Already it is producing results, with an increase in the number of non-conformities being issued and more detailed, thorough, and consistent audit packages being submitted by auditors to their CBs. All current R2 auditors have completed the new training program and passed the final exam, which is now a requirement for all new auditors.
The R2 Revision Process
The R2 Standard revision process is moving ahead. The multi-stakeholder R2 Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) has been working on revisions that address the ever-increasing number of ways used and end-of-life electronics can be responsibly managed. There is a recognition that R2 needs to reflect more than just the prototypical refurbishing and recycling business models. As the industry evolves in response to changing technologies and business models, the R2 Standard will need to evolve to remain optimally relevant and effective.
Planning for the Future
SERI’s Board spent much of 2017 working on a long-term strategic plan for the organization. A draft is already informing organizational decisions. The plan will be finalized at the Annual Board meeting in February, and then made available on SERI’s website.