“A prevalent misconception within the media, among politicians and others, is that all industry finds chemical regulations ineffective, burdensome and a threat to their profits, when in fact many downstream chemical users…realise there is much to gain from increased transparency of information and better regulatory control over the production and use of chemicals.”
Holding this view, and with the adoption of REACH still two years away, Swedish NGO ChemSec in 2004 established a forum for downstream companies such as retailers and consumer products manufacturers to discuss the challenges they faced in reducing the use of chemicals of concern in their products. Today, itsbusiness group, who include Dell, Ikea, Skanska and Sony Mobile Communications, continues to exchange information and share best practice, and support the application of ChemSec’s SIN List as a tool for substituting hazardous substances.
A similar forum exists in the US, where NGO Clean Production Action established its Business NGO Working Group (BizNGO) in 2006 at an inaugural meeting of 22 organisations, including companies such as Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Kaiser Permanente and Nike. Since 2010, the group has sought to make the voice of downstream users heard in debates about policy initiatives such as California Safer Consumer Products Regulations and efforts to reform the federal Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), by submitting comments, presenting at Congressional hearings and meeting members of congress and staff at the US EPA. It says its main focus is on “the lack of chemical ingredient disclosure across the supply chain, the need for comprehensive hazard data, as well as the need for safer alternatives.”