EU Green Deal

The EU is implementing its Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability 

Find out how bluesign Could Help the industry

EU Green Deal And The Chemicals Strategy For Sustainability
 

The European Green Deal (EGD) is a set of initiatives all 27 EU Member States are committed to with the main goal to transform the EU into a modern, resource-efficient, and competitive economy.

Within the green deal a specific strategy for chemicals has been developed under the action sector ‘Environment and oceans’ with the title ‘Chemicals strategy for sustainability’. Main objectives are:   

  • better protect citizens and the environment
  • boost innovation for safe and sustainable chemicals
  • Enable the transition to chemicals that are safe and sustainable by design

 

Close to a hundred detail actions under several key topics have been defined in the ‘Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability’ in order to achieve the strategy targets. Some of them will have a direct impact on current regulations and directives such as:

  • REACH (EC 1907/2006, ‘Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of chemicals’)
  • CLP (EC 1272/2008, ‘Classification, Labelling and Packaging of Substances and Mixtures’)
  • IED (2010/75/EU, ‘Industrial Emission Directive’)
  • Ecodesign directive (2009/125/EC)
  • General product safety directive[1] (2001/95/EC)

We would like to shed light on selected actions in defined focus areas which may have major relevance for the textile chemical / textile industry and propose how bluesign may help the textile supply chain to cope with the expected challenges.

 

Safe And Sustainable Design
 

What are key initiatives of the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability?

  • The EU is developing sustainable-by-design criteria for chemicals to give guidance for substituting substances of concern and to consider sustainability parameters looking at the product’s life cycle.
  • Key Performance Indicators to measure the industrial transition towards the production of safe and sustainable chemicals shall be introduced
  • A revision of the industrial emission directive (2010/75/EU) shall help to promote the use of safer chemicals by industry in the EU by requiring on-site risk assessments and by restricting the use of substances of very high concern.

How can bluesign support?

  • The bluesign® TOOL may be used as a design aid for safe and sustainable chemistry by chemical companies. Candidate chemical formulations can be assessed in the development phase against restricted substances lists (MRSL, RSL) and undesired product hazards. Most relevant exposure scenarios are calculated (worker, consumer, air and water) to assure safe use. With the wholistic assessment, formulations with unfavorable properties can be sorted out.
  • Bluesign is currently extending its CRITERIA for sustainable chemistry addressing responsible sourcing, corporate sustainability, carbon footprint, degradability, recycled content, resource efficiency and other aspect of circular economy. Sustainability attributes will be shown in the bluesign® FINDER, a positive list for safe and sustainable chemistry.
  • To track the transition of chemical companies towards production of safe and sustainable chemistry, bluesign suggests to communicate the companies’ share of bluesign® APPROVED chemicals in their portfolio.
  • bluesign’s chemical change program for textile manufacturers aims at replacing non-assessed and non-rated chemistry with a safer and sustainable alternative (bluesign® APPROVED = SVHC free). It will be an adequate response to the upcoming ‘industrial emission directive (2010/75/EU)’ revision that shall promote the use of safe and sustainable chemistry.

 

Protection Against Most Harmful Chemical
 

What is/are key initiatives of the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability?

  • The strategy suggests to develop a roadmap to prioritise carcinogenic, mutagenic and reprotoxic substances (CMRs), endocrine disruptors, persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT and very persistent and very bioaccumulative (vPvB) substances, immunotoxicants, neurotoxicants, substances toxic to specific organs and respiratory sensitisers for (group) restrictions under REACH
  • The intended group restriction approach means that substances would automatically be restricted once there is evidence that they fall into one of the mentioned hazard classes.

How can bluesign support?

  • The extended set of hazards that will come under scrutiny combined with the intended group restriction approach will pose new challenges to the (chemical) industry. The most efficient approach would be to run detailed substance related hazard assessments on chemical product level. Bluesign can offer tailor-made hazard assessments to make sure consumer products won’t contain substances with those hazards of concern.

 

Endocrine Dispruptors
 

What is/are key initiatives of the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability?

  • Propose to establish legally binding hazard identification of endocrine disruptors
  • Ensure that endocrine disruptors are banned in consumer products as soon as they are identified, allowing their use only where it is proven to be essential for society
  • Strengthen workers’ protection by introducing endocrine disruptors as a category of substances of very high concern under REACH

How can bluesign support?

  • By checking chemical formulations with a hazard assessment approach that is linked to the substance property database ‘bluesign® NAVIGATOR’, substances that are classified as endocrine disruptors can be identified and cut out. That will support chemical suppliers and textile manufacturers to fulfill their future legal obligation on endocrine disruptors.

 

PFAS (Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances)
 

What is/are key initiatives of the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability?

  • Proposal to restrict PFAS under REACH for all non-essential uses including in consumer products
  • Address PFAS concerns on a global scale through the relevant international for and in bilateral policy dialogues with third countries

Bluesign strategy on PFAS

To be ahead of the upcoming restrictions and to be a driver of detoxing the textile supply chain bluesign plans the following actions:

  • As of July 2023 all existing bluesign® APPROVED PFAS containing formulations will be removed from the bluesign® FINDER
  • As of July 2024 all bluesign® APPROVED fabrics that are treated with PFAS formulations will be removed from bluesign® GUIDE

 

Information Requirements (IMPACT)
 

What is/are key initiatives of the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability?

  • It will be assessed how to best introduce information requirements under REACH on the overall environmental footprint of chemicals, including on emissions of greenhouse gases.

How can bluesign support?

  • It is to be expected that reporting footprint data on chemical product level will become mandatory under REACH. Bluesign can assist chemical suppliers to calculate or verify their product related footprint data including GHG emission equivalents (CO2eq).

 

Zero Tolerance For Non-Compliance
 

What is/are key initiatives of the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability?

  • Propose to entrust the Commission with the duty to carry out audits in Member States, where relevant, to ensure compliance and enforcement of chemicals legislation, in particular REACH, and use infringement procedures as necessary.
  • Target known areas of high risk of non-compliance, in particular online sales, imported articles, classification and labelling and restrictions.

How can bluesign support?

  • The EU has decided to put emphasis on enforcing the REACH regulation with no tolerance for non-compliance. Chemical companies will need to invest more into assuring regulatory compliance (product safety) to lower business risk. Especially suppliers of imported products may face increased scrutiny as they are known to have a higher risk of non-compliance. bluesign® can help lower risk of non-compliances as SYSTEM PARTNERS are regularly assessed with regard to product safety and legal compliance (e.g. restricted substance monitoring, Safety Data Sheet authoring).

[1] https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32001L0095&from=EN

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