Green Chemistry/Sustainable Supply Chain Management:
The Green Chemistry and Commerce Council (GC3) recently published a report titled, Meeting Customers’ Needs for Chemical Data: A Guidance Document for Suppliers. The Guidance Document is designed to improve supply chain communication between suppliers and their customers concerning chemical identities and health and safety data. In the report, leading companies such as HP, Johnson & Johnson, Method, Nike, SC Johnson, and Wal-Mart explain why they want such data and how they interact with their suppliers to obtain it.
Readers unfamiliar with GC3 should know that it is a business-to-business forum for members to discuss and share information and experiences relating to the advancement of green chemistry, design for the environment, and sustainable supply chain management. GC3, which began in 2005, is a project of Lowell Center for Sustainable Production at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. GC3 prepared the Guidance Document with two goals in mind: “(1) to advance the efforts of companies trying to obtain the chemical data needed for regulatory and corporate sustainability programs and in response to market demands, and (2) to advance the efforts of suppliers to provide chemical data needed by their customers.”
The Guidance Document is a response to the growing demand for increased transparency concerning chemical-related data. Companies attempting to bring “green” or “safer” products to the market need chemical identity and health and safety data at the product design phase. Access to this information enables them to evaluate and manage market, regulatory, and tort liability risks, as well as respond to requests from their customers, including consumers, wanting more information.
The Guidance Document should prove helpful to suppliers less familiar with the trend toward greater transparency, the rationale supporting it, and the techniques used to sustain it. The document explains why fabricators and formulators are requesting chemical data, what chemical data are being sought, how suppliers can benefit from sharing data, why Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) often provide inadequate data, how companies are handling confidential business information, how fabricators and formulators collect data from their suppliers and what they are doing with the data, and where suppliers can obtain the data being requested. In addition to describing the chemical data collection practices of different companies, the Guidance Document also provides customizable letters and forms that companies can use to facilitate their communications.
More information about GC3 is available here.