The e-Stewards Certification Program launched the 4th Version of its Ethical Electronics Recycling and Refurbishment Standard this week. The new, more streamlined version of the standard has been under development by a special drafting committee since summer 2018. In the last few months, it underwent two lengthy open stakeholder comment periods, which ended a month ago.
"The revision process was smooth and very constructive, and the result is a standard that is easier to read and execute and at the same time has probably become more rigorous in the areas that matter most—human health, export controls and data security," said Jim Puckett, founder and executive director of Basel Action Network (BAN), creator and administrator of the e-Stewards program, in a statement. "At a time when ethical behavior continues to be challenging for some, and a time when the industry is getting more complicated by the day, this version should be a welcome tonic for all stakeholders."
Version 4.0 of the e-Stewards Standard has been shortened from 99 to 60 pages. The formerly incorporated ISO 14001 Environmental Management System language has been removed, but the standard still requires certification to the ISO standard separately. And, by July 1, 2022, it will also require the NAID (National Association for Information Destruction) AAA data security certification as well. Additionally, the e-Stewards program has a powerful performance verification program, which goes beyond the yearly audits to uniquely make use of GPS trackers to randomly sample downstream destinations of equipment that passes through e-Stewards recycling facilities, as well as unannounced inspections.
e-Stewards processors can continue to utilize the current version (V3.1) of the standard until August 24, 2021, when it sunsets and Version 4 will be required by all e-Stewards Certified processors. Some of the attributes of the new V4.0 of the e-Stewards Standard include:
- Design for international use, and thus applicable in every country.
- Copyrighted but available free of charge.
- Requires the additional certifications to NAID AAA (data security) and ISO 14001 (Environmental Management System).
- A corporate standard that applies to all facilities and operations of a company within a country, not just certain select facilities.
- A more streamlined, less prescriptive text when compared with V3.1, resulting in a shorter and easier-to-read standard while retaining the same rigor.
- Compliant with international waste trade laws, including the most recent amendments to the Basel Convention, and OECD Council Decisions.
- Containing best practices for environmental and health and safety management system norms, occupational health, social accountability and privacy protection.
- Will be accompanied by a comprehensive living Guidance Document. The first version of the document is slated to be complete by April 30.
"The e-Stewards Certification is truly a one-stop shop for industry leaders in the ITAD [IT asset disposition] space," said e-Stewards program Manager Salomé Stähli in a statement. "Already, we have attracted many of the world’s largest companies as enterprise partners, including electronics manufacturers such as Sony, LG, Vizio and Samsung. And, in the next 24 months, we are poised to expand our footprint to 11 more countries. The new e-Stewards Standard V4.0 will greatly enhance the industry’s ability to offer gold-standard services from the smallest operators to transnational partners all over the globe.”