ChemSec business group

Business Dialogue

A growing number of companies are working actively to reduce their use of hazardous substances, inspired by international environmental agreements as well as their customers’ concern for safer products. ChemSec has a long record of engaging in the corporate debate on how to move away from hazardous substances, and we highlight business examples for others to follow.

As long as legislative improvements on hazardous chemicals are slow, there is a crucial need for companies to voluntarily move away from chemicals with highly problematic properties.

Increasingly individual companies are waking up to the risks and opportunities of hazardous chemicals, not only for brand image but also their overall competitiveness.

ChemSec has an abundance of information and tools aimed at companies looking to improve their chemical management work, showing you that substituting hazardous chemicals with safer alternatives is both technically and economically feasible.

Businesses do not like strict regulations?

There is a common misunderstanding that industry oppose strict chemical regulations. This is largely a result of chemicals manufacturers lobbying on their own behalf while also claiming to speak on behalf of downstream users, such as consumer goods manufacturers, retailers and others. Yet it is exactly these users who have much to gain from better control over the chemicals that enter their operations.

These businesses are dependent on up-stream suppliers for the safety of the items they produce and market. Therefore, they view appropriate regulation and pro-activeness as reducing their economic risks, creating a more equal playing field in the marketplace, and favouring public and consumer relations. In fact, evidence shows that large sectors of industry would gain from stricter chemicals legislation. It’s no surprise that many leading companies are “taking care of business” by helping to push for greater information and control.

A passive approach is not the answer

Despite being positive towards EU’s chemicals policy REACH, many companies have not tried to influence the process unilaterally for a number of reasons. Many simply do not fully understand the impact of changed chemicals legislation on their particular field of business. Others mistakenly assume that their respective trade associations, which in reality tend to take a more conservative, “lowest common denominator” approach, always look after their needs. Finally, others have simply not found the right channels to follow and influence the relevant pieces of legislation that could help them gain some control of their supply chain.