The BizNGO conference, hosted by Clean Production Action, was mainly about Chemical Footprinting
This was the 10th BizNGO conference and there was much to discuss and learn.
BizNGO is one of my favorite conferences because there is such a willingness to share information, brainstorm ideas and drive forward on the path to safer chemicals. I really like the interesting content, the cross industry collaboration and the valuable input from the NGO community and academia.
The main agenda item for this year’s BizNGO conference was the Chemical Footprint and Chemical Footprint Project. Chemical Footprinting provides a way to measure progress to safer chemicals.
This year’s conference was no different than any other. There were so many highlights. After much thought, I have listed my top 3 takeaways.
1. Increasing demand for Chemical Footprints
The investment community endorses Chemical Footprinting. Health Care and Hospitality industries are looking at ways to conduct their own Chemical Footprint. Once they gather data, there is a possibility they will ask their suppliers to do the same.
Conducting a Chemical Footprint makes good business sense. Admittedly, it is not an easy task given the challenges of data gathering. However, companies will be able to use the results to develop internal sustainability strategies and target areas for improvement. If they disclose the data publicly and make reduction commitments, this level of disclosure will ultimately increase brand reputation and possibly generate more business.
2. GoJo is the first company to set reduction targets against its Chemical Footprint
GoJo, a leader in hand hygiene and the maker of Purell® Advanced Hand Sanitizer, released publicly that they will half their Chemical Footprint by 2020
3. Levi Strauss and Co. unveiled a tool to screen chemicals
Levi Strauss and Co. used the conference to unveil its new hazard-based framework to screen chemicals. This initiative is being managed and executed through Eureka, their innovation lab. The innovation team create concept garments at the design phase using safer, screened chemicals. Manufacturers can then use the same formulas in production and voila; beautiful garments made in a way that does no harm to human health and the environment. This a win-win situation for the chemical company, who pays for the screening but gets more business from LS&Co., and the consumer who can choose apparel made with inherently safer chemicals. In addition, the company plans to share a list of screened chemicals with other apparel brands.
What are the impacts to your business?
Questions to consider:
- Does someone from your company attend the BizNGO conference?
- Will you conduct a chemical footprint?
- Will your answers help to establish a roadmap towards the use of safer chemicals in your products?