What is the business case for Chemical Footprinting?
The human health and environmental drivers – as well as the social, technological, economic, and political drivers – for businesses to reduce their chemical footprints are increasing rapidly.
Socially, public interest and pressure to avoid toxic chemicals in products is rising rapidly in all countries. Technologically, the capacity for manufacturers to make safer products of equal performance and price is growing rapidly. Economically, corporations carry significant liabilities when toxic chemicals are found in their products and supply chains. Politically, the regulatory environment for chemicals in products is becoming more complex.
Global regulations for chemicals management are increasing faster than for any other environmental issue, including climate change. The current suboptimal management of toxic chemicals is resulting in ever more frequent and larger costs to businesses from regulatory, reputational and redesign risks.
Companies cannot manage what they don’t measure – a lack of common sustainability metrics for chemical management presents significant chemical risks to corporate performance. Tracking chemical inputs and measuring progress to safer chemicals is an important metric in Environmental Social Corporate Government.
Brands and retailers that are passive – reacting when compelled by crises or regulations—face significant hidden liabilities of chemicals of high concern in their products. Costs from these liabilities can run to the tens or hundreds of millions of dollars, tarnish the reputations of brands, and result in loss of market share and valuation.
Investors and purchasers lack sufficient information systems to differentiate companies on their overall chemical management performance – thereby hiding potential “chemical risks” to corporate performance.
Regulatory requirements, customer demands, media attention, non-governmental organization advocacy, product recalls, and market opportunities are driving companies to develop and implement comprehensive chemical management programs that track chemicals from concept to fate, and identify and de-select the most hazardous chemicals.
Active strategies to know and act upon information on chemicals in products and supply chains generate long-term value for companies, their shareholders, the public, and the planet.
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CFP provides the definitive tool for measuring overall corporate chemical management performance. We look forward to its widespread use in the furnishings sector where a credible, third party benchmarking of chemical performance is missing, yet needed.
- Barry Cik, Naturepedic
The Chemical Footprint Project provides an independent, third party assessment tool that will help companies to think about how to fully integrate their policies into procedures and vice-versa.
- Jane Abernethy, Humanscale
Corporate performance in chemicals management varies widely, from barely being in compliance with regulations to capturing new markets through innovative products based on safer chemicals. We look forward to using a tool that rewards innovators for using safer substitutes.
- Sonja Haider, ChemSec
We need metrics for reporting and benchmarking overall corporate performance on chemicals management. CFP is a publicly developed standard which could allow us to benchmark, track and report our overall corporate chemical management performance going forward. We look forward to its launch in 2015.
- Annie Schmidt, Seagate Technology, LLC
Hazardous chemicals “present reputational, regulatory, and reformulation risks across a broad range of industry sectors. Investors need to understand how companies are meaningfully managing these risks.”