Clean Production Action, an environmental nonprofit, and the Lowell Center for Sustainable Production at the University of Massachusetts Lowell yesterday announced the launch of a new tool for companies and investment firms to measure suppliers’ use of safer chemicals and evaluate their own progress towards sustainability. The Chemical Footprint Project (CFP) is a third-party benchmark facilitating the comparison of corporate chemical use practices, conceptually similar to carbon footprint metrics.
The CFP defines “chemical footprint” as “the total mass of chemicals of high concern (CoHCs) in products sold by a company and used in its manufacturing operations.” The CFP identifies chemicals of high concern as all chemicals on California’s Safer Consumer Products list of Candidate Chemicals.
The CFP’s Steering Committee and Technical Committee members are drawn from several major corporate and nonprofit stakeholders, including Target, Staples, Kaiser Permanente, Hewlett-Packard, Seagate Technology, ChemSec, Environmental Defense Fund, and the U.S. Green Building Council.
According to the Project’s press release, the CFP is “the first initiative to publicly measure overall corporate chemicals management performance by evaluating:
- Management Strategy
- Chemical Inventory
- Progress Measurement
- Public Disclosure.”
The Project is expected to be fully operational in early 2015. The CFP is only the latest initiative to measure and manage the environmental and health impacts of products based on chemicals in supply chains. In October, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development released a guidance document on life cycle assessment (LCA) methods for chemical products. Last year, retailers Target and Walmart both announced sustainable chemical products programs which were both based on private standards.