A more sustainable and safe handling of chemicals is a clear trend in chemicals policy. The flagship of this trend is “Green Chemistry”, a concept that over a long period was a more academic approach. This is changing and companies are discovering Green Chemistry as a business model. Also during the years past, numerous countries across the globe adopted a more stringent chemicals legislation, aiming to substitute or better manage the most problematic chemicals.
In particular, the EU´s Green Deal opens a window of opportunity to further boost this approach to a highly improved chemicals management. Also, the new Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability has recognised Green Chemistry as an important milestone to a cleaner and more sustainable future. And finally, the Austrian government has recognised Green Chemistry as an important milestone to a cleaner and more sustainable future in its coalition-agreement.
Therefore, industry needed to start introducing more sophisticated chemicals-management-schemes. This transition process is ongoing and in particular, smaller companies are challenged the most. However, also large companies and institutions are facing significant challenges.
One of the most pressing challenges is the availability of qualified people, who are able to understand and keep track of the fast-changing regulatory environment for chemicals. Living Green Chemistry fundamentally changes the way one manufactures and uses chemicals. Foresight, a full understanding of supply chains and the complexity of chemicals` impacts are crucial.
Right now, a typical chemicals management focuses on how to handle available chemicals, e.g. by implementing requirements from safety-data-sheets or worker-protection-legislation. The cooperation between different divisions – like marketing, product-stewardship, purchase, R&D etc. – is often highly rudimental. In such an organisational environment, a Green Chemistry approach cannot spawn to its full potential.
The transition to a green and sustainable chemicals-use and the full exploitation of its opportunities requires that all relevant organisational units work together, and the company management is involved. A common strategy and cross-linked cooperation is necessary. Such cooperation needs efficient steering and this would be the role of the GCCM (“Green Chemistry Change Manager”).
A new course is in preparation, as soon as dates are available you will read about it here or you send us your request to ad you to our “GCCM mailing list”!