Material compliance sounds like a highly complex subject. What does it involve?
Julia Heidler: To us material compliance means understanding the legal requirements relating to the environment and health and safety that apply to the raw materials we use to make our products. Our objective is to stop using hazardous substances or only to use them within the relevant legal framework, such as the European chemicals regulation REACH. In addition, we do not work with raw materials produced by overexploitation of natural resources, forced labour or child labour or with substances that come from countries where armed conflicts are taking place. Material compliance also includes the environmentally responsible disposal or recycling of electrical equipment, for example Gira HomeServers.
What is Gira's approach to material compliance?
Julia Heidler: The first stage of the process involved systematically identifying all the directives, regulations and laws that apply to Gira and incorporating the requirements that our products must meet into our development process. We also investigated all our existing products to determine to which extent they needed to be modified in order to comply with all the legal requirements. To ensure that our product modifications follow the material compliance regulations, we have included a checklist in our change management process that allows us to examine which requirements have to be met and whether the modified products meet them. It is equally important for us to identify the relevant amendments to legislation at an early stage, so that we can respond to them proactively. As material compliance is a relatively new field, we also need to raise awareness of its importance inside the company and among our suppliers and external partners. This involves in-depth communication measures and the provision of training courses.