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The increasing awareness of the need for safer and sustainable substitution

There is an increasing awareness of the need for safer and sustainable substitution.

Why? The UNEP Global Chemicals Outlook II stated that the global goal of the Strategic Approach to Chemicals Management (SAICM) to minimize adverse impacts of chemicals and waste will not be achieved by 2020. It also noted that solutions exist, but more ambitious worldwide action by all stakeholders is urgently required. The use of safer and more sustainable substitution are part of the solution.

So how can this shift be better incentivised? A panel of stakeholders, from regulators, to industry, to academia to civil society will discuss at the 2021 Helsinki Chemicals Forum what could help to increase the pace towards the implementation of safer alternatives. Each stakeholder has a role to play.

The shift can be supported in a myriad of ways:

It can be innovation of safer chemicals.
What is a Safer Chemical?: see the new OECD Guidance on Key Considerations for the Identification and Selection of Safer Chemical Altternatives
What is Innovation?: see the OECD Innovation Strategy

Support of research and development that help to identify the more sustainable substitutes but also financial incentives are required to support their market uptake. Education and awareness for new generations of chemists and product designers and SME capacity building are also critical. As are proactive regulatory approaches.

To make decisions, we also need information – what are the substitution targets, what information is available for substitutes regarding their properties? The OECD is working to help disseminate this information with the eChemPortal and the OECD Substitution and Alternatives Assessment Toolbox.

There is no magic solution. That is why various stakeholders are coming together to discuss this topic and the approaches that can help to incentivise a shift to safer and more sustainable substitution of chemicals.
On 28 April please join in the virtual discussion at the HCF 2021 with:
Moderator: Eeva Leinala, Principal Administrator, chemical safety and biosafety, OECD
Along with Panelists:
Anne-Sofie Bäckar , Executive Director, ChemSec
Paul Ellis, Head of sustainable chemicals management, Kingfisher
Joel Tickner, Professor Lowell University and Executive director of the Green Chemistry and Commerce Council
Peter van der Zandt, Director Risk Management, ECHA
Elke Van Asbroeck, Managing Director, Apeiron-Team


Eeva Leinala
Moderator of the Safer Substitution Panel at HCF2021