Product stewardship manages and minimizes the environmental, safety and health impacts of substances in our products in line with international regulations from raw materials selection, production process, during use, until end-of-life. It is about knowing the substances we use and produce, being able to explain why we use them, taking the appropriate risk control measures, and sharing this information with relevant and interested stakeholders. We apply a risk-based approach, using safer alternatives whenever feasible, and always when required.
Substances of concern
We apply a risk-based approach, using safer alternatives whenever feasible, and always when required. ‘Substances of concern’ are substances that fulfill certain regulatory criteria or are listed by recognized organizations for (potential) serious health or environmental risks (such as REACH Substances of Very High Concern). The assessment of the presence of these substances in our end products has been added as a minimum requirement in our new sustainable portfolio steering program (Brighter Living Solutions +). In 2021, we assessed our full product portfolio and the result showed that less than 0.5% of sales contain a substance of concern with a concentration >0.1%.
Product stewardship contributes to the value proposition of our business in a world characterized by increasing interest in the health of people, animals, and the planet. It helps the business to be safe and sustainable and also helps mitigate liabilities.
In October 2020, the European Union published, as part of the European Green Deal, the Chemical Strategy for Sustainability with the ambition to move to a toxic-free environment. A challenging regulatory agenda will be implemented in the coming years. We support the starting-points of the strategy and as part of our advocacy efforts, we engage in discussions to drive reasonable actions and timelines. Furthermore, we share our experiences to shape the concept of ‘safe and sustainable by design’.
Product stewardship roadmap 2021–2024
To future proof ourselves, the following five themes were identified:
- Further increase the awareness of product stewardship across the organization
- Improve our master data management
- Improve our use of digital tools
- Further embed ‘safe and sustainable by design’ principles
- Adjust our governance when needed
External and internal product stewardship awareness has accelerated due to the Chemical Strategy for Sustainability as mentioned above. The need to improve the master data connection over the different functions and the use of digital tools is essential and will be pursued in the coming years
Our businesses are now supported by a single, integrated product stewardship team, introduced with effect from 1 January 2022. A new product stewardship network will be installed, covering a broader spectrum of the value chain, to further roll out our product stewardship roadmap.
For more information on product stewardship, see the company website.
Brighter Living Solutions (BLS) is DSM’s program for the development of sustainable, innovative solutions with environmental and/or social benefits, creating shared value for our stakeholders. Brighter Living Solutions are products, services and technologies that, considered over their life cycle, offer a superior environmental impact (ECO+) and/or a superior social impact (People+) when compared to the mainstream alternative for the same application. The impact of Brighter Living Solutions can be realized at any stage of the product life cycle, from raw materials through the manufacturing process to potential re-use and end-of-life disposal.
More information and definitions can be found on the company website.