Sample Questions to Ask a Manufacturer
Has your company conducted life cycle assessments (LCAs) for your products? How international is the scope of these assessments? What methodology was used to conduct the LCA?
Are these studies available to consumers? How?
Are the results of LCAs discussed with workers?
Do you use LCAs when evaluating suppliers?
Do you use any carcinogens, mutagens, or endocrine disrupting chemicals in your products? Do you use persistent or bioaccumulative chemicals?
Do you use genetically engineered crops in your supply chain?
If you are a biobased product manufacturer do you have a policy to source from sustainable raw feedstock?
Do you support producer responsibility for managing end of life product waste? Do you take back your products for reuse, repair, or recycling? What happens to the product at the end of life?
Social criteria: What is your policy on labor practices? Do these extend to your suppliers? How do you monitor labor practices in developing countries? Is this independently certified?
Do you have plans to improve the product’s profile? If so, how? For example, do you have plans for your company and your suppliers to:
prolong the durability of the product?
make it repairable?
reduce its material and energy use?
only use nontoxic materials or sustainable/organic feedstock?
reduce transportation needs?