Facing increasing demands around the world to divulge details of their supply chains and production processes, how much information can (and should) companies share regarding the chemicals used in their products?
USCIB Vice President Helen Medina led a discussion of this topic at this week’s ChemCon Americas 2016 conference in Toronto. Chairing a panel on “Global Supply Chain Transparency & Stakeholders,” Medina noted the numerous efforts by governments and international bodies to promote greater disclosure by companies.
“There is increased societal pressure for the ‘right to know’ concept,” Medina stated. “What’s more, companies are facing market and stakeholder pressure to ‘green’ their supply chains as a way to improve their corporate citizenship profile.”
Others speaking on Medina’s panel included Mark Herwig (GE), Sophia Danenberg (Boeing), Wendy Brant (Walmart) and Scott Echols (ZDHC Foundation).
Medina said that policy makers in many countries and regions are expanding their concept of risk in chemicals, to encompass not just the materials in a given product but also how they are used. In addition, they are increasingly requiring information to understand chemical risks throughout a products entire life cycle.
Highlighting numerous inter-governmental efforts to promote transparency on chemicals use, Medina cited the UN Sustainable Development Goals, where Goal 12 sets out to “achieve the environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their life cycle, in accordance with agreed international frameworks, and significantly reduce their release to air, water and soil in order to minimize their adverse impacts on human health and the environment.”
This focus has migrated into various other discussions in the UN system and elsewhere, Media said. She urged companies of all sizes to pay greater attention to these discussions, which she said would influence national laws and rule-making on chemicals for years to come.