Becoming a leader on safer chemicals is a meaningful way to address increasing consumer demand for ingredient transparency and safer products. The good news: taking the first step is easy to do.
In these uncertain times, corporate leadership is more important than ever in maintaining momentum to address our most serious environmental challenges – from climate change to water depletion to exposure to hazardous chemicals. Recently, I participated in the 11th annual BizNGO Conference titled “Measuring Progress to Safer Chemicals.” The event was full of solutions-oriented dialogue among NGOs, investment firms, and leading consumer product companies – in textiles, personal care, health care, electronics, cleaning, and more – about topics from meaningful transparency to measuring the ubiquity of chemicals of concern. Overall, the conference renewed my belief that companies are ready and willing to accelerate the adoption of safer chemicals in the marketplace. For example, now over 60 organizations, including Staples and CVS Health, have signed on to the Chemical Footprint Project, which recognizes companies that have effectively demonstrated public commitment to improved chemicals management. Elsewhere, some companies are publicly showing success at reducing the use of chemicals of concern.
Although leading companies are paving the way, it is clear that we need more companies, especially more retailers, to achieve full marketplace transformation. Companies that are interested – but uncertain of where to start – should explore building a chemicals policy.
A written corporate chemicals policy is the most effective tool in jump-starting and sustaining Institutional Commitment for safer chemicals. It helps a company articulate its chemical management goals and set a course for success. A strong chemicals policy begins with an overarching aspirational vision that conveys the company’s desire to take a leadership stance. The company’s specific objectives for attaining leadership on safer chemicals are the meat of a chemicals policy. At a minimum, these objectives should focus on:
- Improving Supply Chain Transparency
- Cultivating Informed Consumers
- Embedding safer Product Design, and
- Showing Public Commitment
What are the benefits of writing all of this down? Goal embedment and alignment, employee empowerment, and sparking accountability internally and within the company’s supply chain – to name a few.
But what does all of this really look like on paper? EDF has created templates retailers can use when fleshing out their own chemicals policy. Our templates provide starting text as well as tips and resources for customization.
Consumers are looking to companies to lead the way — publicly and credibly. Use our templates to help you build a chemicals policy that gives you a competitive edge and builds consumer trust.