Meeting The Highest Standards Is A Team Affair At Soapworks

Although we’re best known for our expertise in developing and manufacturing the finest soaps, our customers also rely on us to meet the highest safety, quality and environmental standards. Achieving these standards isn’t easy and it takes a lot of work from a relatively unsung part of the Soapworks team to ensure we remain fully compliant.

David Ridland is the Technical & Compliance Manager at Soapworks and it’s David, and his team, that we rely on to meet the exacting standards of the various bodies involved. The final few months of the year are the busiest for David as various audits all take place within a window of only a few weeks. These audits were for the British Retail Consortium (BRC) Consumer Products, Environmental Management and Occupational Health & Safety Management system standard certifications, as well as our Sedex Membership and compliance to the Ethical Trade Initiative (ETI) base code.

But what does that all mean for Soapworks and our customers?

We have been certified to the BRC Consumer Products standard since it was first published in 2003 and it is our primary management system demonstrating compliance to ‘Good Manufacturing Practices’ (GMP), a fundamental requirement for cosmetics manufacture. So, essentially, we wouldn’t be able to supply our customers without this.

Our Environmental Management System is currently certified to the ISO14001:2004 standard and our Occupational Health Safety Management system is certified to the OHSAS18001:2007 standard. At Soapworks we have a combined environmental and health & safety management system we call our SHE management system. Concern for our immediate, and the wider, environment was one of the cornerstones on which Soapworks was founded and it still plays a huge part in our business culture today.

Our final audit in 2016 was our Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit (SMETA). This ethical audit is to demonstrate our compliance with the Sedex and ETI base code requirements. It encompasses our staff’s welfare and working environment and involves multiple staff interviews, with both full time and agency shop floor operatives, in addition to scrutiny of pay records, terms and conditions and health & safety records.

During the year we were also subject to additional third party audits in respect of our Soil Association Organic standard certification and the Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) Supply Chain standard certification. Both were successful and both are equally important to our other certifications. These too are very important for a number of our customers and in turn for their customers. Palm Oil sourcing in particular is a well-known environmental concern and our commitment to sustainability and best practice is a very real commitment and something we encourage everyone to be aware of.

Just as the audits are finished and the accreditations awarded work immediately begins on achieving them again in 2017. We’re excited because the ISO14001 standard has been updated and the OHAS18001 standard is due to be re-published, as ISO45001, this year. Likewise the BRC Consumer Products Standard now has Issue 4 published for implementation in 2017.  Meeting new standards is always a challenge but it’s one we really look forward too.

We are justifiably proud of our certifications and the other efforts we make to be a strong supply chain partner and to ensure we continue to be able to offer our customers the assurance that compliance to these numerous standards brings.’  

David Ridland, Technical & Compliance Manager