Stakeholders in the manufacturing, importation and regulation of powdered detergent in Nigeria have committed to the elimination of sodium tripolyphosphate (STPP) as raw material.
The move is to protect the aquatic environment as well as ensuring the strict implementation of the Nigerian Industrial Standards (NIS ARS 496-2:2018) for synthetic detergent powder, which prohibits the use of STPP.
This commitment was part of the resolutions reached at a Stakeholders Forum put together by the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), in Lagos, to review the implementation of the standards and the level of compliance by manufacturers, importers and regulators of the products in the country.
The forum was attended by manufacturers under the soap and detergent sub-sector of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN); the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS); National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC); National Environmental Standards Regulatory Agency (NESREA); and the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), and a host of others.
In a presentation by SON, the manufacturers were confronted with facts based on a nationwide sampling of powdered detergents and laboratory tests that the use of STPP as raw material has not totally abated in Nigeria.
Other resolutions reached include that:
- STPP has been globally confirmed to be non-biodegradable, thus negatively affecting the aquatic environment, human lives and thus prohibited as raw material in the production of powdered detergent.
- The Nigerian Industrial Standard specifications are in line with international best practices.
- All manufacturers, importers and regulators must comply.
- The Soap and Detergent sub-sector of MAN should create a platform to constantly educate, sensitize and keep their members informed about regulatory requirements in the subsector.
- MSMEs involved in powdered detergent manufacturing have the obligation to meet standards and regulatory requirements.
- Manufacturers in general have the obligations to fulfil corporate social responsibility to their immediate community, environment, consumers and the Nation.
- Regulatory authorities should ensure strict implementation of the NIS ARS 496-2: 2018 for synthetic detergent powder in issuing import permits, registration and certification of the products.
Only products that meet the requirements of the applicable standards would thrive under AfCFTA, given the ongoing harmonisation of standards across the continent under the African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO) platform.
In his opening address, the Director-General, SON, Farouk Salim, pointed to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development goal number 12 on “responsible consumption and production,” which highlights the importance of protecting the environment for posterity.
He therefore charged the stakeholders to contribute to more sustainable and responsible industrial practices.
Salim, represented by the Ag. Director, Operations, Dauda Yakubu, highlighted the enormous business opportunities for the powdered detergent manufacturers in Nigeria in view of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA).
He however posited that only products that meet the requirements of the applicable standards would thrive under AfCFTA, given the ongoing harmonisation of standards across the continent under the African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO) platform.
He urged Nigerian manufacturers to embrace the SON’s Integrated Management Systems (IMS) certification, which includes the Quality Management System (ISO 9001:2015); and Environmental Management System (ISO 14001:2015) standards, to help their businesses meet legal and regulatory requirements and satisfy industry standards.
Salim listed other benefits of the IMS Certification as minimizing risks and accidents while also opening up multiple opportunities for improved customer relationships and reputation, waste reduction, lower emissions and efficient use of materials to improve their competitiveness as well as profitability.
In their goodwill messages, other regulators, including NCS, NAFDAC, NESREA and FCCPC pledged their collective support and commitment to implementing the specifications in the NIS ARS 496-2:2018, for synthetic detergent powder, for a healthier, safer and sustainable environment in the interest of the nation.