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Helsinki Chemicals Forum 2024 Programme


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Wednesday 10 April

Master of Ceremony Paula Diaz Rodriguez, Chair of the Downstream Users of Chemicals Co-ordination Group (DUCC) 

Time zone EEST

10.00-11.30 Guided tour at ChemBio exhibition

11.30-12.00 Presentation at the EPAA stand

12.00-13.00 Lunch, sponsored by EPAA

Keynote 1: Chemicals policy at the crossroads – achievements and challenges for the future Commission

Kristin Schreiber, Director, DG GROW, European Commission




Keynote 2: What will be the future role of ECHA under the EU’s revised set chemicals regulations

Sharon McGuinness, Executive Director of ECHA



Keynote 3: Personal reflections from the ICCM-5 and perspectives of the new Global Framework on Chemicals

Anita Breyer, President of ICCM-5



Panel 1: How does the new Global Framework on Chemicals influence the global supply chains to manage chemicals safer during the whole product lifecycle?


Moderated by Jacqueline Alvarez, Chief of Chemicals & Health Branch, Industry and Economy Division, UNEP

Panelists: Anita Breyer, Director-General for Chemical Safety, Immission Control and Transport, Federal Ministry for the Environment, Germany, Chrysanthi Sofokleous, Chemicals Legislation Manager, CEFIC and ICCA, Satish Sinha, Associate Director, Toxics Link and Arthur Fong, Environmental Technologies Smarter Chemistry Lead, Apple & Co-Chair California Green Ribbon Science Panel


The new Global Framework on Chemicals was adopted at the end of September 2023 in Bonn. This ambitious new Framework, successor to SAICM, provides all stakeholders, from governments, international agencies to the private sector and civil society with an ambitious vision: a Planet Free of Harm from Chemicals and Waste. Collaboration will be key for the successful implementation of the new Framework – including within the global value chains – and this need is well acknowledged and reflected within its strategic objectives. The panel will explore the role of the new Global Framework on Chemicals in shaping global supply chains for the safer management of chemicals throughout their lifecycle. The panelists will also share their perspectives on the importance of collaboration and a unified approach to ensure the accomplishment of the new Framework’s vision.

  • What are the main lessons leant from the experience in the implementation of the new Framework’s predecessor (SAICM) or other global instruments and initiatives, that could be useful in scaling up or as part of the basis for the implementation of the new Framework, especially with regard to the engagement and influence of value chains?
  • How does the new Framework take into account the need for cooperation within the global value chains, and can it serve as a roadmap for them with regard to the sound management of chemicals and waste? What kind of partnerships would be more effective and help to achieve impact at global level?
  • What have so far been the main challenges in the value chains’ involvement and what would be necessary, in concrete terms, to enhance their involvement and action? Which elements of the new Global Framework on Chemicals can help addressing these challenges? What benefits or added value would there be for the value chains?
  • How can other stakeholders outside the value chains, contribute to or support this process?   


Panel 2: How can substitution planning help to create regulatory certainty, promote investments in safer alternatives and speed up the substitution of the most harmful chemicals?


Moderated by Otto Linher Senior expert at the European Commission, DG Growth, REACH Unit

Panelists: Simon Cogen, Expert, Sustainable Economy Unit, Ministry Economic Affairs Belgium, Christel Davidson, DUCC, Theresa Kjell, Expert, Substitution planning, ChemSec and Joel Tickner, Executive Director, Change Chemistry


The European Commission is investigating options to use substitution plans as a more flexible tool to require early substitution of hazardous chemicals where it is feasible while avoiding disruptive bans where substitution is not feasible. By bringing all relevant actors together, substitution planning could create a dynamic to jointly search for innovative solutions, remove uncertainties by better investment planning, and generate a win/win situation for health/environmental protection and industry competitiveness. 

  • How can a more ambitious agenda for substituting hazardous substances deal with the need for derogations for complex essential uses (e.g. technical uses of PFAS such as semiconductors or membranes; Chromium VI in safety relevant parts of airplanes/machinery)? What about uses where substitution takes time, and some actors can substitute and others cannot (e.g. due to different quality requirements, lack of sufficient production capacities, legal constraints)? What about assessing alternatives early on to prevent regrettable substitution? 
  • Can substitution plans be a tool to support restrictions and avoid regulatory micro-management in such cases? How could substitution planning in a regulatory context work in practice? How can flexibility be reconciled with legal certainty? How can free-riding be prevented?
  • What could be the governance of developing and implementing substitution plans? Who should be involved at what stage in the process and how can the process be kept manageable? What role can authorities, alternative providers, NGOs and academia play? 
17.20-18.30 Joint reception with ChemBio at Plaza stage with ECHA Choir performance
18.30-19.00 Transit to the Hall of the City of Helsinki
19.00-20.30 Reception and walking dinner at the Empire Room of the City Hall


Thursday 11 April

Master of Ceremony Paula Diaz Rodriguez, Chair of the Downstream Users of Chemicals Co-ordination Group (DUCC) 

Time zone EEST

Panel 3: Learnings from changes to the chemicals legislation elsewhere (US, Canada, Australia, Japan)

10.30- 12.00

Moderated by Mercedes Viñas, Director of Submissions and Interaction, European Chemicals Agency (ECHA)

Panelists: Michal Freedhoff, Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP), Bryan Stephens, Senior Legislative Policy Advisor, Environment and Climate Change Canada Senior Policy Advisor & Heather McCready, Director General, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Graeme Barden, Executive Director, Australian Industrial Chemical Introduction Scheme (AICIS) and Erika Uchino, the director of chemical safety office, Chemical Management Policy Division, Japan

Chemical legislation is experiencing changes globally, with diverse approaches to tackle identified challenges. In this regulatory transformation, some of the common challenges relate to the information basis, advancing  animal-free solutions, deriving science-based decisions and accelerating risk management.

This panel brings together regulators around the world to share their experiences, insights, and learnings for overcoming these challenges and implementing effective solutions. Key questions include:

  • What are the main characteristics of chemicals legislation in the different jurisdictions? What are the experiences with the implementation of the legislation?
  • What are the key learnings from the past? What have been the main reasons for changes to the legislation and how have those been addressed?
  • Looking at chemicals management around the world, are there any common future challenges? Can we identify pitfalls and solutions?
  • What opportunities are there for international exchange and collaboration?


12.00-13.00 Lunch

Panel 4: Increasing the Use of Economic Instruments for Chemicals Management


Moderated by Eeva Leinala Principal Administrator, Environment Health and Safety Programme, OECD

Panelists: Rafael Cayuela, Corporate Chief Economist, Sonja Haider, Senior Business and Investors Advisor, ChemSec, Daniel Slunge, Director Centre for Future chemical Risk Assessment and Management, University of Gothenburg and Peter Korytar, European Commission, DG ENV, Sustainable Chemicals unit

Chemical risk management has typically focused on regulatory ‘command and control’ measures with less emphasis on market-based or voluntary approaches. Strong regulatory frameworks are needed. Complementary to this, there is ample room to increase the use of economic instruments to create incentives for the private sector to shift to more proactive and sustainable chemical management solutions. It is also vital to demonstrate and communicate the (socio)economic value of both governments and industry improving chemicals management.

  • How can the use of economic instruments for chemicals management be increased? What are the barriers and opportunities?
  • What are the new developments for consideration of chemicals in the EU financial taxonomy, in the investment domain, in the application of taxes and fees?
  • What are the lessons learned and tools that can be drawn from other domains such as climate and biodiversity loss for financing for sustainable chemistry, and for the application of market-based instruments.
  • For all types of risk management approaches – how can making the economic case drive change?  What are the needs of the actors – business, governments, civil society.


Panel 5: Are Transition Pathways for Sustainability demonstrating how industrial sectors can achieve both the EU’s chemicals and industrial strategies?


Moderated by Leigh Stringer, Managing Editor Europe, Chemical Watch News & Insight, Enhesa

Panelists: Sylvie Lemoine, Deputy Director General, Cefic, Simon Cook, Chemicals Management Advisor, Eurometaux, Sonja Haider, Senior Business and Investors Advisor, Chemsec and Kristin Schreiber, Director, DG GROW, European Commission

The EU’s ambition of transitioning to a green, digital and resilient economy – set out under the Green Deal and Industrial Strategy – requires the direct involvement of industrial sectors. To achieve Europe’s goals, European authorities are developing transition pathways for key industrial ecosystems, including chemicals, construction and textiles. The challenge of these transitional ‘blueprints’ is ensuring industry is fully resilient, can compete globally and at the same time tackle the sustainability objectives set out under the Green Deal and chemicals strategy for sustainability to address the most harmful chemicals.

  • With transition pathways launched for chemicals, construction and textiles, how do the blueprints define the future of these sectors use and management of chemicals? How do they support the transition to safer chemicals? And how is industrial competitiveness considered and actioned in parallel?
  • How have stakeholders responded to these transition pathways? Are the objectives being actioned widely by the sectors and are they (will they?) creating the cultural change within the sectors needed to achieve EU goals? Have any challenges or barriers been identified in the initial stages of this transitional journey?
  • How could this transitional exercise in the EU impact more broadly global supply chains? If successful, could we see similar transitional blueprints created and taken up in other regions or even globally? Is there appetite and ambition from other regions to take a similar approach? And could the EU’s plans help developing regions move towards a more sustainable economy through experience, knowledge sharing and potentially closer collaboration between authorities and industries across regions?
16.00-16.10 Concluding remarks by Geert Dancet, Secretary General, Helsinki Chemicals Forum
16.10-17.10 Get Together hosted by EPAA at Lilla Strindberg
Note: 16.10-18.30 Repeat of Panel 3 for online viewers only (not being able to join the online presentation of the morning due to difference of their time zone)


Note: this programme is still subject to changes so you are advised to regularly check it on the HCF website