Safer Choice

THE CHALLENGE

EPA’s Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT) contracted with Innovate! to develop a cloud based system used to manage the Safer Choice (formerly known as Design for the Environment) program. EPA’s Safer Choice, in partnership with industry, environmental groups, and academia, identify cleaning and other products that perform well and are safe for human health and the environment. Products are tested against various measures including pH levels and volatile organic compounds (VOC) and are then rated on level of safety. The Safer Choice program empowers consumers to protect their health and minimize impact on the environment through everyday purchasing decisions. Using EPA’s chemical and toxicological expertise, the Safer Choice program applies stringent criteria for health and environmental safety in labeling products with the safest possible chemical ingredients.

THE SOLUTION

Innovate! developed a custom mobile and cloud based application that offers a single structure to facilitate data management of the Safer Choice program. A series of meetings were held with Safer Choice leadership to develop user stories, which were translated into requirements used to develop the custom Salesforce.com system. This system allows third party profilers to conduct product reviews and audits, and includes a community that is outward facing and accessible by industry. It provides a portal that allows third party profilers to conduct product reviews and audits. Partners use the community to apply for Safer Choice recognition and submit data while suppliers use the community to upload their ingredient data. EPA staff communicate with program partners, receive critical documentation, and seamlessly process applications through Safer Choice.

In order to meet the needs of a wide user audience and significantly reduce data errors, Innovate created standardized workflows and selected a platform with the flexibility to be accessed from anywhere. The system utilizes Salesforce.com’s standard functionality and enhances it using Innovate!’s custom coding. The custom functionality Innovate! has developed in the system prohibits submission of incomplete reviews and notifies third-party profilers about the specific review requirements that need to be met. This custom functionality offers the benefit of effectively eliminating time spent by Safer Choice staff processing incomplete applications/submissions. Additional custom functionality was developed to notify partners and third party profilers what is required for a product to receive Safer Choice labeling recognition; these notifications are automatically generated from the system based upon Safer Choice staff feedback. Innovate! provides operational, technical, and maintenance services for the system.

Additionally, the system facilitates project and program management, offering the ability to audit field history, creating interactive workgroup meeting agendas and action plans, and providing stakeholders the ability to monitor the progress of their applications and submissions. Features include automatic document generation, a streamlined data collection process, an easy review of third-party profiler data, contract management, partnership agreements, and amendments.. Innovate! also authored the system security plan and the drafting, providing Safer Choice with an Authority to Operate.

THE CLIENT

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT)

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