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As the rules change or new procedures are developed, please note that these interpretation and/or guidance may not apply; you should always refer to the latest rules and guidance documents to determine what equipment authorization procedures should be followed. For the latest guidance on specific topics or you don't know where to start, please feel free to contact GTG Group experts.

GTG Provides Worldwide Environmental Regulatory Compliance Solutions (WERCS) Certification Recognition Service
GTG can help you with WERCS certification.
GTG provides professional, efficient and reliable WERCS certificate recognition service.

In the modern world, it’s essential to ensure that the products we use are safe for us and the environment. With increasing concern for the environment and its impact on our lives, it’s crucial that companies adhere to environmental regulatory compliance laws and regulations. One of the ways companies can show their commitment to environmental safety is by achieving the Worldwide Environmental Regulatory Compliance Solutions (WERCS) certification. The certification program covers regulatory requirements in the US, Canada, the European Union, and other countries worldwide.

What is the WERCS certification?

The WERCS certification is a program designed to assist companies in adhering to various environmental regulations across the globe. It focuses on ensuring that products and their components meet specific environmental standards, including those related to hazardous materials, emissions, and waste management. The certification encourages companies to use safer and more environmentally friendly products, reducing the impact of hazardous materials on the environment and human health. For example, before approaching Walmart (and any other retailer) to become a supplier, a good amount of pre-work is required. The supplier application process requests information about the company in addition to the product line itself.

One piece of the application process that is growing across retailers is the WERCS assessment. Not only is the WERCS assessment being requested by more retailers, but it is expanding across the number of items needing it before making it to the retail shelf.

What products require a WERCS assessment?

Specific items requiring a WERCS assessment can vary by retailer and even local ordinances. It’s always best to check with the retailer before setting up your item for sale. As a general rule, WERCS assessments are required on all products that are or contain:

  • Batteries
  • Chemicals
  • Aerosols
  • Pesticides

Again, it is important to check with the retailer about a specific item. Many have strict guidelines around the four categories listed above and define them even further. For example, Walmart gives suppliers in-depth definitions of these categories to stay compliant. Just for batteries, Walmart specifies:

Battery or battery containing product is defined by Walmart to include any item of merchandise that is a battery or any component of merchandise, including reusable packaging intended to stay in use with the item, containing a battery of any chemistry/type. Only lithium or lead-acid batteries should be submitted to WERCS.

Other retailers require WERCS on items outside these four areas. Some retailers specify WERCS assessments for any items containing copper, while others do not. For general compliance, some retailers require WERCS assessments on all items that feature an ingredient panel. Suppliers should check with retailers early to prevent delays in setting up items for sale.

Which retailers require WERCS certification?

The list of retailers requiring WERCS certification to sell products continues to grow. Big box retailers like Walmart, Home Depot, Target, CVS, and Staples all ask for WERCS certification. Specific items in each store may vary for certification, but each asks for WERCS compliance on many of the products they sell.

WERCS certification is expanding across retailers large and small. Why? Companies are held responsible for the items they manufacture and sell to the public. No company wants to endanger its customers with a hazardous product or risk the potential for a lawsuit due to negligence. WERCS gives the retailer the data it needs to properly transport, store, handle, and dispose of suppliers’ merchandise to keep customers and employees safe.

How WERCS certification benefits companies

  • Risk Management: WERCS certification helps identify and mitigate environmental risks associated with a company’s products and processes. By understanding and complying with relevant regulations, companies can avoid costly legal issues and reputational damage.
  • Market Access: many markets, particularly in Europe and North America, have stringent environmental regulations. WERCS certification can be a key factor in gaining access to these markets, as it assures regulatory bodies and customers of a product’s compliance.
  • Operational Efficiency: the certification process often involves a thorough review of a company’s operations, which can lead to the identification of areas for improvement. This can result in more efficient use of resources and reduced waste, leading to cost savings.
  • Competitive Advantage: companies with WERCS certification can leverage this as a point of differentiation in the market. It signals to customers and partners that the company is committed to environmental stewardship, which can be a decisive factor for environmentally conscious consumers and businesses.
  • Future-Proofing: with environmental regulations becoming increasingly stringent, WERCS certification positions companies to easily adapt to future changes in legislation. It provides a framework for continual compliance, ensuring long-term operational stability.

What Walmart suppliers need to know about WERCS?

If a supplier wants to do business with Walmart, the WERCS assessment is a top priority. Products requiring the WERCS assessment should apply for certification before entry into Walmart systems.

Why? All items sold in Walmart stores are assigned an item number. A Walmart Item Number (WIN) can only be created after the WERCS assessment is complete. It is best to register items with WERCS long before the item setup process with Walmart.

If suppliers do not register items with WERCS before trying to set their items up with Walmart, the process can not be completed. Without the approved assessment, the process can be delayed and items may end up being rejected for sale at Walmart.

As previously stated, different retailers can vary on what products they determine require WERCS assessments. Walmart’s guidelines can be more stringent than other stores. For example, Walmart requires a WERCS assessment on all over-the-counter (OTC) oral medications.

Walmart suppliers also need to be aware of product descriptions that can trigger a WERCS request. When entering items in Walmart’s Item 360, the system is looking for keywords to flag the item as being a WERCS-required item (words like “chemical” or “cleaning”). If the product description says “chemical-free” or “no chemical added,” Item 360 only sees the word “chemical” and will trigger a WERCS request.

How WERCS certification benefits consumers

The WERCS certification helps raise consumer awareness about product safety and environmental responsibility. Consumers can use the certification to identify products that meet their safety and environmental standards, making informed purchasing decisions.

WERCS certification and the chemical industry

The WERCS certification is particularly relevant to the chemical industry, where hazardous materials are commonly used in the manufacturing process. The certification helps chemical companies demonstrate their commitment to safety and environmental responsibility, improving their reputation among consumers and stakeholders.

WERCS certification and the retail industry

The WERCS certification is also relevant to the retail industry, where companies need to ensure the safety of the products they sell. Retailers can use the WERCS certification to select products that meet their safety standards and to communicate product safety information to consumers.

The WERCS certification process

The process of obtaining WERCS certification involves several steps. Firstly, a comprehensive assessment of the company’s current compliance status is conducted. This includes an evaluation of products, materials used, manufacturing processes, and waste management practices. Following this, a plan is developed to address any areas of non-compliance. This may involve changes to product design, sourcing of materials, or operational procedures. Once these changes are implemented, the company can undergo a formal certification process, which typically involves an audit by a third-party certifier.

The cost of WERCS certification

The cost of WERCS certification varies depending on the number of products and the complexity of the certification process. Certification fees typically range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars per product.

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How long does it take to complete a WERCS request?

Turnaround time for a WERCS request is usually around 48 hours. To ensure no delays in the process, suppliers need to fill out all forms completely and accurately, and process payment promptly.

When should a supplier submit a WERCS request?

Without a WERCS assessment on a WERCS-required item, setting the item with the retailer can be delayed or rejected. Suppliers should find out if their items will require the assessment from the retailer they are trying to work with and request the WERCS if necessary early.

Will the retailer see the manufacturer’s product formula or ingredients?

No. The supplier’s Confidential Business Information (CBI) is encrypted. The retailer will only see the results and not the item’s full formulation.

What happens when the WERCS assessment is complete?

The information about the item is sent directly to the retailer from WERCS.

How can GTG assist you with Worldwide Environmental Regulatory Compliance Solutions (WERCS) certification recognition?

Obtaining a WERCS certification can be a complex and time-consuming process. That’s why third-party organizations play a crucial role in WERCS certification. Beginning the WERCS certification process early will save time in the approval process and make setting up items in the retailer’s system easier without this delay.

GTG provides independent assessments of product safety and compliance, and help ensure the integrity and credibility of the certification process, providing reassurance to consumers and stakeholders.

GTG expert’s guidance and support can help reduce time and costs, and increase consumer confidence in the product. If you are a manufacturer or supplier of consumer goods, contact GTG certificate company today to learn more about how we can help you with WERCS certification. Letting retailers to understand the requirements for shipping, handling, storing, and disposing of WERC-certified products. And aids in a retailer’s sustainability goals and compliance with all federal, state, and local regulations.

Sources: Our guidance and/or articles are written in part based on publicly available information, and our own practical experience relating to product testing, compliance and certification. These are some of the primary sources we use:
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© 2012-2024 GTG Group. All rights reserved.