Industry Market Trends

Editor's Note: The Tightening Grip of Regulations

Mar 26, 2014

That squeaking noise we're hearing is the turning vise of government regulations on manufacturers and industrial producers. While we're two months away from the major federally mandated conflict minerals reporting deadline, California, under a state green chemistry law, has declared the first three consumer products for regulatory scrutiny due to the chemicals used to make them.

In play also is EPA's proposal of much stricter - many say unrealistic - greenhouse gas emission rules for coal-fired power plants.

Finessing regulatory hurdles has always been a way of life for manufacturing businesses big and small. But in this modern era of ethical sourcing, for all its good intentions of bringing social progress on a mass scale, regulatory hurdles are becoming veritable high jumps, which especially smaller suppliers will find unable to surmount.

Their modus operandi is not an outright ban but to insidiously discourage manufacturers' way of life and encourage alternatives for the greater good that may be impractical and costly. These rules are also fraught with social and brand reputation risks. The necessary evils of doing business are being rooted out, taken over by the social cost, and manufacturers are facing potentially difficult decisions to change with the times or pack up.

William Ng, Editor-in-Chief,