What is the Certified Professional Product Steward (CPPS) Credential?
The Certified Professional Product Steward (CPPS) is the first credential of its kind, providing product stewards with the opportunity to distinguish their expertise and build professional credibility within the field.
Product stewards are responsible for the management of raw materials, intermediate materials, and consumer products throughout their lifecycle and across the value chain to prevent or minimize negative impacts and maximize value to human health and safety and to the environment. For example, when producing a plastic bottle for drinking water, product stewards take steps to keep workers, consumers, and the environment healthy and safe: from turning the crude oil into plastic pellets, making the pellets into bottles, filling the bottles with water, bringing them to supermarkets, and finally disposing of or recycling them after they have been used.
How Do I Become a CPPS?
If you are interested in becoming certified as a CPPS, you must meet six requirements:
- You must have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university or from another college that is acceptable to the Board
- You must have 48 months (four years) of professional-level experience where at least 50% is in the professional practice of product stewardship
- You must currently be engaged in active practice at the time of application
- You must pass the CPPS exam
- You must agree to adhere to the BGC Code of Ethics and to be governed by the BGC Ethics Case Procedures
- Pay fees on or before the due date.
For more information on the specific details of becoming a CPPS, please read the CPPS handbook pages.
What our certificants say
People who hold the CPPS certification often say they feel a sense of accomplishment, a sense of additional responsibility, and a greater appreciation of Product Stewardship practice. Here is just a sampling of some of the testimonials we have received from our CPPS Diplomates:
I work as a consultant at Cardno ChemRisk (now Stantec), primarily focusing on human health risk assessment, product stewardship, and regulatory support. I was motivated to apply for the CPPS to promote myself as a leader in the product stewardship space and to demonstrate to clients I am committed to maintaining a high level of knowledge to effectively consult on product stewardship issues. I was also interested because it is a newer certification and could help differentiate myself from my peers.
Thirty years ago, I became a Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) and that feeling of accomplishment (and relief) that washed over me when I received my certificate has never left me. That foundation served me well as my career expanded into the emerging field of product safety / stewardship over these past 20 years, but I’ve always felt that the CIH only told part of my story. That’s why, when the CPPS was announced, I jumped at the chance to once again see how I measured up. Now, maintaining both a CIH and a CPPS paints a fuller picture of me professionally and should help my clients feel confident that the person advising them is not only knowledgeable but is also bound by a professional code of ethics. Earning the CPPS may not be like winning a Grammy, but it sure feels good to be tested and find out that you do measure up against your peers.
My job right now covers anything that ends in “A”: EPA, TSCA, OSHA, FRA, FIFRA, FDA, FSMA, RCRA. It is challenging to keep yourself up to date on regulatory requirements that affect your company’s products and your customers’ uses of the products. I’m interested in the Cosmetics regulations in the EU currently, the Product Information File (PIF), Cosmetic Product Safety Report (CPSR), and the opportunities it brings for promoting use of safer, more sustainable raw materials in cosmetics. I’ve worked in the product stewardship arena for several years and am still surprised when so many people ask, “What does that mean?” The CPPS credential is not only of value to me personally as a measure of demonstrating competency in my field, but it is also another way to show the value of product stewardship to others. It’s, at the very least, a conversation starter. I love that the badge is linked to a description of the meaning of the credential. As a practitioner, the CPPS credential is personally satisfying in that I have demonstrated to myself that I am knowledgeable in my field. Many product stewards came into the field through other career paths or other educational backgrounds. We are biologists, chemists, engineers, medical professionals, safety professionals, industrial hygienists, toxicologists, environmental scientists, ecologists, geologists, and social scientists. The CPPS is a great way to show that no matter how you got there, you are a professional in a valuable and growing field and can add value to any company.
I am a senior Product Steward within LyondellBasell based in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. I was motivated to apply for the CPPS credential because I wanted to benchmark my knowledge on Product Stewardship with industry standards and close the gap. As there are no degrees in Product Stewardship and it is not commonly taught in Universities, I opted for CPPS accreditation. I was also motivated to earn the CPPS credential as it would force me to test my knowledge through the exam, and it was possible to take this exam from the comfort of my home office (I am based in Europe) at a date/time of my convenience. Professional recognition is always something to be proud of. For me, the value of the CPPS credential as a practitioner is a motivation to develop further in the field of Product Stewardship to be able to demonstrate my commitment and provide differentiated service to stakeholders internal and external to my company. I would recommend the CPPS credential because, from my experience, preparing for the exam and learning about best practices of Product Stewards (irrespective of the industry they serve) was very rewarding. I found the online CPPS coursework offered by the Product Stewardship Society (PSS) very valuable and appropriate to my current roles and responsibilities. I think earning the CPPS credential demonstrates a commitment to Product Stewardship and instills trust and credibility to the services offered by Product Stewards.
As a BGC Board member involved in the development of the CPPS credential, it’s exciting to see the credential in place and growing. BGC certification is awarded to those who can pass a rigorous examination and who demonstrate their professional competence through education, work experience, and a continuing commitment to keeping their knowledge and skills current. The CPPS designation is useful for certificants and employers looking for product stewardship professionals.
I am the Product Stewardship Manager for a nonwovens manufacturer with global operations. Job responsibilities include SDS authoring, chemical and compliance disclosure in accordance with chemical regulations across the globe; regulatory guidance to business units for new product developments in FDA, EPA regulated spaces; support to international customers for compliance with various international regulations like REACH, RoHS; and maintenance of sustainability-related certifications such as FSC. I applied for the CPPS credential because I wanted to test my knowledge on global and domestic regulations as well as be able to demonstrate professional credibility to my organization and my customers. The CPPS credential helps other Stewards to immediately recognize that I am competent and trustworthy to respond to stewardship concerns; not all companies define stewardship the same way, so the certification is a useful tool to signal, in shorthand, that a practitioner has met a certain level of professional expertise and knowledge. I recommend the CPPS credential because it allows you to demonstrate that you have attained a certain level of professional competence in the multiple disciplinary field of Product Stewardship. With such a broad range of responsibilities, it can feel as though the job is a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none type role; however, the CPPS helps to show that the professional has attained a deeper level of knowledge across a broad spectrum of topic areas.
I have worked as a product steward at HP for the past 25 years primarily supporting inks and the print business. Over that time, I have seen product stewardship grow in importance, becoming part of a business’ license to operate. I was involved early in the development of the CPPS credential and understood its role in advancing the recognition of product stewardship as a profession. While I am well established in my career, I wanted to take the CPPS exam so I could promote it to others as a way they can demonstrate their knowledge of the unique, multi-disciplinary profession that is product stewardship.
The timing worked out great for me to apply for the CPPS credential, and it captured my past 20+ years of experience and knowledge in Product Stewardship. I wanted to see how my understanding of Product Stewardship compared with the CPPS. The CPPS has given me higher expectations and additional responsibility as to how I, as a CPPS, should face challenges using the principles and values of Product Stewardship. I am very thankful for those who made the CPPS certification available for me to challenge myself. I know many years of preparation went into developing this credential, which provides topics that are broad, global, and impact many industries.
Like any achievement, the process of obtaining my CPPS was the most meaningful aspect of this endeavor. AIHA’s CPPS preparation courses and AIHA’s two main publications were very useful in that regard. I use the publications regularly even after having taken the exam. The exam preparation allowed me to re-visit Product Stewardship from a slightly different lens, beyond day-to-day work. It also introduced areas with which I was not familiar. I highly recommend applying for the CPPS credential for a greater appreciation of Product Stewardship practice!