DSM Integrated Annual Report 2022

Product stewardship

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

DSM defines substances of concern as substances that either fulfill a certain regulatory hazard criteria (e.g., carcinogenic) or are listed by recognized organizations for their (potential) serious health or environmental risk which are not directly visible via the product. This includes substances which are classified for their proven carcinogenic potential or that are persistent, bio-accumulative and toxic.

In our Brighter Living Solutions Plus (BLS+) program, product stewardship is a minimum requirement. The presence of substances of concern in products is assessed and only accepted in case of strictly regulated situations or use under strictly controlled exposure conditions. Without fulfilling these criteria, a product cannot be classified as BLS+.

Regulatory developments

Product stewardship is about sustainable business and ensuring compliance with the various global chemical legislations is a foundational element of that.

In the European Union, business awaits a challenging regulatory agenda as result of the Chemical Strategy for Sustainability, published in October 2020 as part of the European Green Deal. The first major change is the expansion of the rules for classification and labelling of substances and mixtures. The coming years, DSM will reassess all its substances and products and update product labels and customer documentation (e.g., safety datasheets) where needed. The revision of REACH is the next item of legislation with potentially major impact that will follow. We closely monitor these regulatory developments and assess the impact on our product portfolio. In principle we support the starting points of the Chemical Strategy for Sustainability and as part of our advocacy efforts, we continue to engage in European discussions to drive reasonable actions and timelines. Furthermore, we share our experiences to shape the concept of ‘safe and sustainable by design’.

Chemical legislation is expanding rapidly outside the European Union as well. In 2022, first registrations were made in Turkey, Republic of Korea (South Korea), and the United Kingdom as part of the introduction of new chemical legislative frameworks in these countries.

Product stewardship roadmap 2021–2024

In a world characterized by increasing interest in the health of people, animals, and the planet, product stewardship contributes to the value proposition of our business. Awareness of the importance of product stewardship is growing.

Since the beginning of 2022, our businesses have been supported by a single integrated product stewardship organization to anticipate the rapidly increasing product stewardship challenges across the globe. Together with the different businesses the team works on the long-term product stewardship strategy for DSM and implements the product stewardship roadmap 2021–2024, which focusses on the following five themes:

  • 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

For more information on product stewardship, see the company website.

Brighter Living Solutions Plus

Brighter Living Solutions Plus (BLS+) is DSM’s program for the development of sustainable, innovative solutions with environmental and/or social benefits, creating shared value for our stakeholders. BLS+ are products, services and technologies that, considered over their life cycle, offer a benefit recognized by key stakeholders, underpinned with substantiating evidence, whilst having no urgent negative signals. Three performance levels are defined, where the product is:

  • ‘Outperforming’ its peers within the market
  • ‘Performing’ within the market
  • ‘In Transition’, to identify products that either do not meet the DSM minimum requirements, or where an urgent negative signal has been identified

More information and definitions can be found on the company website.

Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals