REACH is an opportunity
The European Union’s regulation on chemicals, REACH, is a bold and progressive framework for regulating and restricting the use of the most hazardous substances. It also gives you, as a consumer or retailer, the right to know if a hazardous substance is present in a product. But the REACH process is slow and cumbersome. So far, EU member states have agreed to list a limited number of chemicals as Substances of Very High Concern on the REACH Candidate List.
All in all though, the REACH framework is an opportunity; for human health, our environment and also for progressive companies. We just need to speed up the process.
Regulation drives innovation
Innovation is the base of economic development. Without innovation: no industrialization, and without industrialization: no escape from poverty.
Talking about chemicals, the question is if chemical regulations hinder or stimulate innovation?
ChemSec believes that the anticipation of regulation is a very strong driver for innovation. Regulatory processes often take time, but when initiated they provide signals to the market, showing what is to come for companies that are watching developments. In other words – when a substance is about to be restricted, innovative companies start inventing alternatives.
This is not only true in the world of chemicals but it is also very much in line with what has been observed in other areas of environmental regulations. Take the automotive industry as an example. Car emission standards started in California in the early 1970 ́s and then spread to the rest of the US, Japan and Korea. In 1990 finally all companies in EU were in favor of additional and more stringent regulations. And there is no question whatsoever that the global debate on climate change has contributed to the push for electrification of the automobile industry. It is obvious that the regulations stimulated massive innovation within the automobile industry.
This is the kind of regulations ChemSec would like to see more of regarding chemicals. This would not only be beneficial to health and the environment, but also for progressive companies.