Recom becomes 1st e-Steward in Asia

In August, 2015, Recom successfully completed the NSF certification process to become the first e-Steward in Asia with support from Arcadian Solutions.

Recom CEO, Mr HeeJoon Kim, spent time in the United States where he became interested in the work of the Basel Action Network.  Mr Kim determined that e-Stewards certification was to become an important global standard and engaged a large consulting firm to support his vision.  After 2 years and considerable dollars spent, the only outcome was a set of generic management system documents in English with little relevance to the operations of the company.  It was clear that this approach would not achieve the vision.  Enquiries were made and Recom engaged Libby Chaplin of Arcadian Solutions to support system design.   Ms Chaplin has been involved with the e-Stewards program since 2008 and is the lead trainer for the e-Stewards Auditor Training.  Since then she has also supported numerous companies to design and implement e-Stewards and ISO 14001 management systems in the electronics recycling sector.  As a small business, Arcadian Solutions is able to focus on customer needs and to tailor systems and support levels to each specific situation.

Recom established the first dedicated e-waste recycling facility in South Korea in 1997, and has since become a leader in South Korea, promoting responsible e-waste management and recovery, working with government and companies such as IBM, LG, Samsung, and Korean Air.   A key part of Recom’s recycling facility includes an R&D center, which is used to evaluate incoming materials and determine optimal recovery options.  This research has been conducted with the support of the Korean government.   Recom has a clear goal to preserve environmental values and as such recognizes the importance of complying with international law such as the Basel Convention and OECD agreements to ensure responsible management of electronic waste.   Recom has a long standing priority to maintain customer needs for customer service and responsiveness.  In addition to providing environmentally friendly options, Recom has long recognized the importance of protecting customer data and proprietary information.

This more customized approach paid off for Recom, enabling them to achieve their goal.    Ms Chaplin visited the facility in Hwaseong-City, Gyeonggi-Province, on numerous occasions and worked with them online to create a bi-lingual system derived from Recom’s own internal processes.    The Recom team were dedicated to understanding and applying the requirements of the e-Stewards Standard and integrate the requirements into their operations.

It was this team approach, managed by Mr Kim Baegyun, Kim Mr Seongbok and Mr Lee Yu-seong, that enabled Recom to work with Arcadian Solutions to design a system that met the requirements, but also adapted to the local environment.   Cultural and language differences presented some new challenges, but these provided an opportunity to make sure the systems worked for Recom and were practical on a day-to-day basis.  Translation support was also essential and was provided by Mr James Jung and Mr John Cho, who worked diligently to ensure that the differences in language and culture were explored and resolved.   Local regulatory support was provided by Mr Oh, of the Institute for Occupational & Environment Health, Central Hospital, who also conducted industrial hygiene testing for the company.   This combination of consulting support from Arcadian Solutions and local regulatory expertize was critical to the success of the system.   The final outcome is a living system that is far from generic, but rather is relevant and makes sense in the Korean environment.     The final step to become certified was greatly enhanced by the certification process provided by NSF, which was essential in verifying that all requirements were met and lessons learned were incorporated into the system.