22nd April 2021
It has been well over 18 months since our announcement to begin removing chromium VI (Cr6) / Hexavalent Chrome as part of the chrome plating process on all of our own-brand products sourced from India and China. As an extremely toxic chemical, mainly targeting the respiration tract as well as contamination of water and soil, the use of this substance poses a serious threat to human, plant, aquatic and animal life. We consider it our corporate responsibility to safeguard against these threats and have been working with our manufacturing partners to identify and replace this chemical with the safer Chromium III (Cr3) compound for the chrome plated products within our own-brand ranges.
We’re now pleased to share how this policy has advanced, despite the challenges of undertaking this during the COVID-19 pandemic, with an extremely positive response from our factory suppliers in India and China.
As part of the replacement process, our manufacturing suppliers have submitted samples of the alternative Cr3 finish which have been visually signed off to ensure continuity and quality for IronmongeryDirect’s own-brand products. Following this, the samples require rigorous testing in the applicable home country and in the UK to ensure total compliance and safety. The new plating solution samples provided by the manufacturing plants in India are now at this stage and undergoing further tests before manufacturing using the Cr3 plating solution can commence. The switch over is more advanced in China, with testing now complete and factories already using Cr3 plating for production - equating to 500 lines out of 700 IronmongeryDirect’s chrome items.
Based on the current levels progress and production, a selection of our products using the new alternative Cr3 plating are anticipated to be available to order from June 2021, as part of a phased, introductory approach.
A pleasing outcome of this process has been the welcome adoption of these new methods by our foreign suppliers. With a widespread recognition that investment into Cr3 processes is vital to ensure the health of the workforce, as well as protecting soil, plant and animal life and a healthy future for all. Notably, a large manufacturing plant in China has since adopted the alternative Cr3 compound across its entire plating process for brands in the UK and US, extending its offering far beyond the process initiated with IronmongeryDirect.
This achievement and investment comes as a result of significant campaigning throughout the industry, with our manufacturing suppliers looking to ensure compliance and best practice for the health and well-being of their employees. However, we still have a long way to go to ensure 100% eradication of Cr6 plating in our own sourced product portfolio.
Moving forward, we will continue to meet with leading UK ironmongery brands to discuss this important topic, many we’re pleased to find are already on the same journey and exhibiting a clear voice for change. Collectively as industry leaders, we will remove Cr6 from all plating manufacturing in the years to come. Please join us in fighting the eradication of the harmful Cr(VI) plating.
Contact our Direct Sourcing Team – [email protected]