California lately banned using PFAS in kids’s merchandise and disposable meals packaging, and set new necessities for cookware producers to reveal the presence of those poisonous “endlessly chemical compounds,” on merchandise and labels. Maine handed laws to ban most makes use of of PFAS (perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances) by 2030, besides when their use is crucial for well being and security or alternate options aren’t out there. Shortly afterwards, the Biden administration introduced a “complete of presidency” strategy to regulating PFAS, main some to foretell a coming wave of litigation.
Corporations that know what chemical compounds are getting used to make the merchandise they purchase or manufacture are greatest positioned to reply to such regulatory dangers — to not point out exploding shopper concern in regards to the well being and security of the merchandise they eat. But few firms truly know whether or not their merchandise comprise chemical compounds of excessive concern to human well being or the surroundings (CoHCs, for brief), resembling PFAS.
There are notable exceptions. Beautycounter, Herman Miller, HP, Humanscale, Naturepedic, Reckitt Benckiser and Seventh Technology, for instance, all proactively handle their chemical dangers.
These firms acquired prime scores within the Chemical Footprint Mission’s fifth annual survey of chemical compounds administration practices. All scored larger than 80 out of 100 doable factors, nicely above the typical 54 factors for different firms collaborating within the survey, which evaluates firm efficiency in 4 key areas: administration technique; chemical stock; footprint measurement; and disclosure and verification.
Walmart was the primary U.S. retailer to announce a time-bound chemical discount purpose.
These entrance runners are remarkably various, displaying that proactive chemical administration is achievable, whether or not you’re small or massive, a publicly traded or privately owned firm, or whether or not you produce constructing supplies or private care merchandise.
Corporations embarking on the Chemical Footprint journey observe the same trajectory: they develop their administration technique for transferring past regulatory compliance to safer alternate options; they stock their chemical compounds, create restricted substances lists (RSLs), assess their footprint, and final publicly disclose their actions. The determine beneath depicts that trajectory. Every bar represents an organization collaborating within the survey.
Entrance runners are deep into this journey. They’re hitting the mark in all 4 classes. Listed below are some key practices of those entrance runners.
Boards and senior administration are engaged
Entrance runners are way more probably than different survey responders to have accountability on the highest ranges of the corporate. For instance, front-runners typically supply monetary incentives for senior administration to fulfill company sustainability targets, together with decreasing using CoHCs. Main firms additionally interact their boards on the implementation of their chemical compounds insurance policies. Such assist on the highest ranges is crucial for sustaining focus and motion on decreasing chemical footprints within the face of competing company calls for.
HP, for instance, commits to integrating its rules for supplies and chemical compounds administration into its enterprise operations. This consists of conducting assessments, defining efficiency targets and metrics, reviewing outcomes with senior administration frequently and publicly reporting on its continuous enchancment in areas lined by this coverage.
Chemical footprints are measured — and lowered
Inventorying the chemical compounds utilized in an organization’s operations and provide chains is the primary key step to evaluating an organization’s use of CoHCs, chemical compounds with wide-ranging well being impacts resembling carcinogenicity, reproductive or developmental toxicity, endocrine disruption, acute toxicity and neurotoxicity.
The Chemical Footprint evaluation takes issues a step additional by summing the overall quantity of COHCs by mass that an organization makes use of. That method an organization can benchmark its progress at decreasing, and finally eliminating, its use of dangerous substances.
Walmart, as an example, was the primary U.S. retailer to announce a time-bound chemical discount purpose, committing to scale back by 2022 its footprint of “precedence chemical compounds” in formulated consumables by 10 p.c compared to its 2017 baseline of 216 million kilos. Walmart tracks each its whole footprint and its “normalized” footprint, or kilos of precedence chemical compounds as a p.c of whole chemical compounds. The normalized footprint permits the corporate to trace progress no matter modifications in whole stock.
Entrance-runners explicitly incorporate using safer alternate options into their hazard discount methods.
All of the front-runners within the fifth annual survey have calculated their footprint by mass of CoHCs or had no CoHCs in merchandise. The Chemical Footprint Mission classifies over 2,200 chemical compounds and chemical courses as CoHCs primarily based on the Worldwide Company for Analysis on Most cancers, the U.S. Nationwide Institutes of Well being and dozens of different authoritative establishments.
Safer alternate options are prioritized
Proactively and systematically searching for safer alternate options to switch CoHCs lessens the danger of a “regrettable substitute,” one which seems to be of equal or larger concern to human well being or the surroundings. For instance, many firms changed hazardous polystyrene meals clamshells with fiber-based meals clamshells, which they later realized contained hazardous PFAS. As a result of the businesses didn’t totally examine chemical elements and related hazards with their number of another, they selected a regrettable substitute.
Entrance-runners explicitly incorporate using safer alternate options into their hazard discount methods by together with a desire for safer alternate options of their chemical compounds coverage, integrating the standards for safer alternate options into their enterprise practices or rewarding suppliers for utilizing safer alternate options.
Beautycounter, for instance, studies that it omits near 2,000 questionable elements in its formulations which are at the moment used within the trade (The By no means Checklist) and makes use of extra sustainable elements which were screened by its security and sustainability consultants.Additional, it has created 12 security requirements that it requires its system and manufacturing companions to observe.
GOJO’s Sustainable Product Innovation Coverage states that it identifies and reduces using chemical compounds of concern and works to switch them with safer alternate options. The coverage additionally states that GOJO will select suppliers who present greatest worth, which incorporates prioritizing sustainability and actively supporting GOJO’s targets and targets.
Main firms are prepared to publicly disclose their chemical compounds administration insurance policies and practices.
Many entrance runners in our 2020 survey dedicated to reveal their Restricted Substances Listmanufacturing RSL (MRSL) and their 2020 Chemical Footprint Survey responses and rating. Prime disclosing firms embrace: Beckton Dickinson & Co, Beautycounter, GOJO Industries, Herman Miller, HP, Naturepedic, Seventh Technology and Walmart.
Important chemical compounds administration insurance policies and practices go unshared with the general public.
Seventh Technology goes additional and publishes an elements glossary to tell customers in regards to the chemical compounds it makes use of in its merchandise. Reckitt Benckiser equally reported in 2020 that three-fourths of its income comes from merchandise with one hundred pc transparency in labeling.
For a lot of firms, nonetheless, disclosure stays a problem. The 2020 CFP Survey outcomes revealed that vital chemical compounds administration insurance policies and practices go unshared with the general public. For instance, of all the businesses that responded to the survey, 78 p.c had a discount purpose for CoHCs, however solely 44 p.c shared the purpose with the general public.
Whereas we spotlight practices of modern firms, we commend all 33 firms that reported to Clear Manufacturing Motion’s 2020 Chemical Footprint Survey for embarking on the journey to safer chemical compounds and welcome the 9 new firms that participated within the survey for the primary time in 2020.
We encourage different firms to know the chemical compounds they use or promote, after which systematically scale back their chemical footprints. The Chemical Footprint Mission supplies a sensible framework for undertaking this activity — and in so doing, staying forward of regulatory necessities and shopper and investor demand.