Somerville, MA [June 19, 2015] — You’ve heard of a company’s carbon footprint. Now it’s time for the chemical footprint.
Despite growing regulatory efforts, businesses around the world continue to use chemicals of high concern to human health and environment. Formaldehyde and toxic phthalates in flooring are but two examples of hazardous chemicals that have caused health issues for consumers and financial and reputation problems for companies and their products.
Now, a growing number of companies are leading the way by voluntarily phasing out toxic chemicals, demonstrating how they can operate just as efficiently using safer alternatives. However, until now investors and companies have had no independently verifiable, transparent way to document progress.
On Friday, June 19, Clean Production Action with the Lowell Center for Sustainable Production and Pure Strategies will roll out the Chemical Footprint Project (CFP) Assessment Tool -- the first-ever common metric for publicly benchmarking chemical use and management.
The Chemical Footprint Project is backed by over $1.1 trillion in purchasing and investment power. Signatories include Aviva Investors, BNP Paribas IP, Boston Common Asset Management, Trillium Asset Management, Dignity Health, Kaiser Permanente, Staples and many others.
“The Chemical Footprint Project gives voice to the demands of investors, institutional purchasers, and retailers for companies to be on the path to safer chemicals in products,” says Dr. Mark Rossi, co-director of Clean Production Action. “Major companies across sectors are already asking their stakeholders to use the Chemical Footprint tool to measure and improve their progress to safer chemicals.”
The Chemical Footprint Project’s Assessment Tool emerged through years of collaboration at BizNGO with leading firms in the retail, healthcare, government, building product, electronics, apparel, cleaning, beauty and personal care, and investment sectors. The Chemical Footprint tool asks 20 questions in four key areas:
- Management: what are a company’s chemical policies and strategies;
- Inventory: how much a company knows about chemicals in its products;
- Footprint: what is a company’s chemical footprint and what steps are being taken to substitute toxic chemicals with safer alternatives;
- Disclosure: how much information on chemicals the company publicly discloses.
Companies will have the option of whether or not to make their score public or hold it privately. For the Chemical Footprint Project Signatories, this new initiative provides a long-awaited tool for engaging potential suppliers.
Here’s what companies and investors are saying:
“The Chemical Footprint Project’s assessment tool is a tremendous resource that facilitates the exceptional transparency a growing number of businesses and consumers are demanding, helps companies achieve and maintain regulatory compliance, and best of all prompts widespread movement to safer chemicals. Businesses seeking a better way to measure and report progress will likely be quick adopters.” Roger McFadden, Vice President, Senior Scientist, Staples
“Marriott is committed to providing healthy environments for our associates, our guests and our communities. We recognize the challenge of moving to safer chemicals requires innovative solutions. The Chemical Footprint Project’s focus on assessing and improving chemical management practices provides a way to engage our suppliers and drive improvement throughout our supply chain.” Brad Colton, Senior Director – Strategic Projects and Global Procurement, Marriott International
“For years, Dignity Health has taken a leadership position in the sustainability movement, serving as a steward for our patients, our communities, and the environment. The Chemical Footprint Project allows us to engage our suppliers and measure their progress on the journey to safer chemicals, contributing to the best possible care for our patients, their families, and our planet.” Sister Mary Ellen Leciejewski, OP, Director of Ecology, Dignity Health
“The Chemical Footprint Project is a tremendous tool for reducing uncertainty in the marketplace when it comes to sustainable investment. The self-assessment process spotlights supply chain risks and allows for thorough and conscientious chemical management. Integrating this information into our investment process helps to identify industry leaders and to reduce company specific risk in our portfolios.” Jeremy Cote, CFA, Research Analyst at Trillium Asset Management, LLC
“For years at Boston Common, we have engaged portfolio holdings on chemicals use and the need for safer alternatives. The CFP is an extraordinary new tool in that it provides investors with the means to benchmark a company’s performance relative to peers and identify leading companies. Further, company responders have the opportunity to undertake a self-assessment of the chemicals they use and start thinking of reforming their supply chains. We look forward to incorporating the tool into our integrated portfolio analysis as well as promoting it across our portfolio holdings” Constantina Bichta, Manager, Environmental, Social & Governance Research, Boston Common Asset Management
“The CFP provides a simple yet effective framework for communicating complex chemicals management issues within companies and across business sectors. Now we have a tool that brands can use to measure and track their progress in reducing chemical risks – the financial liabilities companies face in using toxic chemicals in their products and supply chains.” Richard Liroff, Executive Director, Investor Environmental Health Network
Other organizations on the Chemical Footprint Project Steering Committee include Kaiser Permanente, Partners Healthcare, and the U.S. Green Building Council.
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