We are driving the change to safer chemicals
Today, hazardous chemicals created by man are normal ingredients found in many everyday products; they prevent your computer from catching fire, extend the life of food in different packaging, make your coat waterproof and fulfill hundreds of other functions in thousands of products.
ChemSec – the International Chemical Secretariat – is an independent non-profit organisation that advocates for substitution of toxic chemicals to safer alternatives. We do this because these substances represent one of the biggest and most serious threats to our health and environment. And because we know that change is possible. Through independent research, cross-border collaboration and practical tools, we are driving the development of more progressive chemicals legislation and pushing businesses towards the transition to non-toxic alternatives. And the more people who work towards the same goal, the quicker this process will be.
The challenge we face
Hazardous chemicals can be found in clothing, consumer electronics, packaging and many other products which surround us in our everyday lives. They spread throughout the environment, increasing the risk of cancer and infertility, among other things. We want to prevent this from happening.
We operate globally to facilitate contact between decision makers, companies and research in the fight against hazardous chemicals. We advocate for progressive legislation, sustainable corporate chemicals management and offer guidance to companies committed to changing the way they work with chemicals. Among other things, we are developing the SIN List and a host of other online tools, which guide companies forward and show how they can reduce the use hazardous chemicals in their products and supply chains. Used by tens of thousands of professionals around the world, these tools are recognised by many of the world’s biggest companies, the UN, the EU, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), environmental organisations and other national and international institutions and research centres. We also pursue dialogue with investors seeking to avoid the financial risks associated with production and the use of toxic chemicals.
Founded in 2002, ChemSec engages the work of chemists, political scientists, business experts and communicators, among others. Our organisation is run with financial support from the Swedish Government, foundations, private individuals and other non-profit organisations. The World Wide Fund for Nature, the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, Friends of the Earth Sweden and Nature & Youth Sweden are represented on the ChemSec board. ChemSec also sits in the executive committee of IPEN and are a member organisation in the EEB.
What we do
All ChemSec’s work aims to speed up the transition to a world free of hazardous chemicals. More concretely, ChemSec’s work can be divided into three parts; policy, business & investors and tools.
We push international decision makers and contribute strongly to Europe’s chemical legislative body REACH, which is a framework that the rest of the world follows, having a progressive and sustainable direction. By influencing the legislation we reduce the population’s exposure to hazardous chemicals in everyday products like furniture, clothes, paint, electronics, toys and food packaging.
Business & investors
We spur the members of the ChemSec Business Group; adidas Group, Apple, Boots, Coop, Dell, EurEau, H&M, Ikea, Kingfisher, Lego, Shaw, Skanska, Sony Mobile and the Swedish Construction Federation, to be better and stricter in their internal efforts to stop the use of toxic chemicals.
We regularly inspire multinational corporations, that have the power required to make demands in the global supply chains, to develop products that are free of toxic chemicals.
We have cooperated with Dow Jones to make greater reference to a company’s use of toxic chemicals in their sustainability index, which is positive because a large proportion of companies place the highest priority on positioning themselves high on the index. A good position affects where pension funds and other major asset managers place their assets.
We coordinate the Investor Initiative on Hazardous Chemicals, involving 50+ participating investors and their representatives with over $10 trillion under management or advice. The initiative aims to reduce the adverse impacts of hazardous chemicals and thereby its members’ exposure to the financial risks to which they are linked.
ChemSec innovates and builds web–based tools aimed at companies that want to reduce its toxic footprint. The tools are rational, built on credible science and offers something unique. The most well known tool, the SIN List, has global power in the world of chemicals and is followed by multinational corporations, UN, other environmental organisations, national chemicals authorities and decision makers etc.
The journey towards a world free from harmful chemicals is certainly a challenging one. It requires hard work and perseverance to bring about positive change. But the more difficult the struggle, the more rewarding the success. Here are some notable victories ChemSec has accomplished in the past few years:
✅ 450 million Europeans live healthier lives thanks to ChemSec’s immense influence on the EU’s chemicals legislation. Through our work, we have made sure that the most hazardous chemicals stay off the European market. One concrete example is ChemSec’s successful efforts to ban cancer-causing black dye in wool.
✅ ChemSec coordinates more than fifty institutional investors with US $10 trillion in assets in a call to end the production of PFAS chemicals. Last year, the investors sent a letter to the world’s top chemical companies. A month later, 3M announced it would stop its production, citing “changing stakeholder expectations” as one of the main reasons. In 2023, ChemSec received the CFA Sweden ESG Award for its work on PFAS chemicals in the financial sector.
✅ ChemSec’s PFAS Movement is joined by over 100 consumer companies worth over €130 billion that all support a ban on harmful “forever chemicals”. The strong push from consumer companies was a contributing factor to the current proposal to restrict PFAS chemicals in the European Union.
✅ ChemSec gathers some of the biggest and most influential companies in the world — Apple, H&M, Adidas, IKEA, Sony, etc. — in the ChemSec Business Group. The group develops best practices in substitution of hazardous substances. Over the years, the Business Group has made several joint advocacy efforts towards the European Union.
✅ We have fought intensively to detoxify the global supply chains and today over 100,000 professionals all over the world use ChemSec’s chemicals management tools every year. The well-renowned Dow Jones Sustainability Index did, for example, include ChemSec’s SIN List as an environmental criterion, making it the number one issue for chemical producers.
✅ ChemSec runs the world’s largest platform for safer alternatives to hazardous chemicals — Marketplace. Thanks to ChemSec’s close collaboration with consumer companies and solution providers, we have been able to show that safer alternatives do exist. This work has helped open up and boost the market for sustainable alternatives.
Swedish Society for Nature Conservation
Cecilia Hedfors (Chair)
World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Sweden
Johan Widheden (Vice chair)
Friends of the Earth Sweden
Nature and Youth Sweden
Friends of the Earth Sweden
Swedish Society for Nature Conservation
World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Sweden
Nature and Youth Sweden
According to research undertaken by The Environmental Funders Network, only 0.008% of foundation grants are given to toxics and pollution causes annually. At the same time, chemical pollution has been described as a silent killer and one of our time’s biggest threats to human health and the environment. Needless to say, the work to combat the world’s chemical pollution crisis is — generally speaking — severely underfunded.
This is why we would like to offer a special thank you to our funders. Without their generous financial support, ChemSec would not be able to carry out its important work. So, a big thanks goes (in alphabetical order) out to:
- Adessium Foundation
- Broad Reach Fund
- European Union
- Marisla Foundation
- Swedish Government
- Swedish Postcode Foundation
ChemSec is an environmental non-profit working towards a toxic-free environment. All our work is financed through grants.
ChemSec’s work is of global interest, that’s why we receive financial support for specific projects from a variety of international charitable foundations as well as from other NGOs. But this financial support only cover parts of all the work that we do.
To remain independent, we do not charge companies or others for the services we provide, such as our freely available online tools. This is why we are dependent on support from people sharing our ideals.
Any contribution is welcome. Thank you, it means the world!
Swedish Fundraising Control
ChemSec is a 90-account holder, approved and monitored by the Swedish Fundraising Control.
Only non-profit organisations approved as 90-accounts holders and monitored by the Swedish Fundraising Control are able to receive the seven-digit bank account number beginning with number 90 at PlusGirot and Bankgirot. You can contribute to ChemSec by making a donation directly to our 90-account (PG900612-3 and BG900-6123).
NGO Fundraising, Swedish Fundraising Council
(Frivilligorganisationernas Insamlingsråd, “FRII”)
ChemSec is a member of the NGO Fundraising, Swedish Fundraising Council, FRII. FRII works to ensure that fundraising in Sweden is conducted in a transparent, ethical and professional manner. As a member of FRII, ChemSec is obliged to report annually to FRII and abide by the standards set out in FRII’s member document “the Quality Code” (“Kvalitetskoden”).
The purpose of the Quality Code is to highlight and clarify how FRII’s members work in order to ensure internal checks and balances, as well as high quality in the governance of the organisation.
Personal data policy
Terms and Definitions
Hereinafter “International Chemical Secretariat”, shall be referred to as “ChemSec” or the ‘Company’. Persons who come into contact with ChemSec whose personal data is affected are hereinafter referred to as ‘The Registered Party’ or ‘You’. By ”personal data” it is meant that every piece of information that refers to an identified or identifiable physical person who is alive. That is, information that can be linked directly or indirectly to a person; for example, name, address, telephone number, personal number or IP address.
ChemSec undertakes to manage personal data in accordance with Swedish legislation. ChemSec defends your personal integrity and endeavours to protect your right in the best possible manner. This policy describes how ChemSec collects and manages personal data.
Which personal data are collected?
ChemSec collects and stores personal data that is needed, essential, and compatible with The Company’s purpose. Personal data may be collected and stored in connection with ChemSec’s business. In the process of registration with ChemSec’s newsletter, name, email address, and telephone number are collected. When ChemSec collects personal data from public sources, name, email address, telephone number and information on title or position and profession are collected.
Purpose and the Legal Ground for Processing.
ChemSec collects and stores registered personal information for the purpose of managing the Company’s business and to ensure that this is accomplished in a manner relating to its purpose. Personal data is collected and stored for the purpose of registering You as a subscriber to a newsletter. The Company processes your personal data to this end with your consent. In other communication, your personal information is collected by the Company for the purpose of answering questions and for continuing communication Storing and processing then takes place with your consent.
ChemSec has a legal interest in collecting personal information from public sources in order to contact persons who are professionally active within the area of the Company’s business activities. Personal information is used with the objective of communicating with the Registered Party via e-mail or telephone in pursuit of the Company’s mission. The consent of the Registered Party is to be obtained for the storage of any of this information.
How long is the personal information kept?
ChemSec keeps the Registered Party’s information as long as it is needed for the purpose in pursuit of which it was collected and processed, or as long as is needed in accordance with any laws or constitutions. This means, for example, that ChemSec stores personal information that has been collected as part of registration for the Company’s newsletter for as long as you wish to subscribe to the newsletter.
Who has access to the personal information?
ChemSec reserves the right to release personal information to supervisory authorities in order to meet Chemsec’s legal obligations. ChemSec might also share personal data with third parties that provide services to organisations, e.g., IT services. In such cases, ChemSec might share Your personal information with parties outside the EU if the country has an adequate level of protection according to the Commission, or after you have given your explicit consent to this. If Your consent is required, You have a right to information relevant to the risks of processing.
ChemSec shall take appropriate measures–including organisational–to minimise the risks of unauthorised access and inappropriate use Measures will be taken and applied in accordance with ChemSec’s internal routines to secure the integrity of the Registered Party.
The rights of a Registered Party
The Registered Party is personally responsible for keeping his or her personal information updated and correct. So that ChemSec can continue to fulfil its commitments. ChemSec accepts no liability for consequences ensuing from incorrect personal data. The Registered Party has the right to request information at any time about the personal data that ChemSec has stored on the Registered Party. The Registered Party always has the right to question the processing of the Registered Party’s data insofar as the legal basis for processing rests on a weighing of interest.
The Registered Party has the right to have his or her personal data deleted as provided by Swedish law. This right does not apply if there another legal basis exists for processing or if ChemSec is otherwise legally obliged to process personal data. The Registered Party has the right to request that ChemSec’’s processing of the Registered Party’s personal data be restricted. However, this could affect the Registered Party’s opportunity to participate in ChemSec’s business activities.
The Registered Party has the right to rectify wrong, incomplete or misleading information. The Registered Party has the right to obtain personal information that affects him or her in a structured commonly used and digital format and to have the information transferred from ChemSec to another entity similarly responsible for personal data. The Registered Party has the right to revoke consent previously given. If a revocation is implemented, processing of the Registered Party’s personal data must cease immediately. The Registered Party shall have the means and right to complain to a national authority (Data Inspectorate) if the Registered Party feels that ChemSec is managing the personal information wrongfully.
Contact information for the entity responsible for personal data
Contact person: ChemSec data protection officer // Email: GDPR@chemsec.org
Telephone number: 46 31 711 04 95 // Address: Första Långgatan 18, 413 28 Göteborg