A case study in SpecialChem’s ‘Business Guide to safer chemicals in the supply chain’ presents Hewlett Packard’s strong action to move towards safer chemicals, responding to drivers including green procurement, ecolabels and regulation.
The company’s policy is to take a proactive and voluntary approach to restricting the use of substances where scientific studies prove a risk and where a technically feasible alternative has been shown to be safer for use and to have lower environmental impact. Examples cited include HP’s work with producers of PIN flame retardants to accelerate the rate of substitution. Working with the NGO Clean Production Action and using Green Screen, 45 non-halogenated flame retardants have been assessed. 20 of these were acceptable and one was “preferred”. An identified issue is the cost of changing to and using alternatives, often 5-10% higher. HP’s Hans Wendschlag identifies as challenges the lack of action by national chemical authorities to support substitution, ecolabels which exclude substances without adequately assessing replacements and the need for chemicals manufacturers to engage testing beyond REACH obligations to ensure complete data. He notes that after long discussions, the TCO eco label adopted in November 2015 the Green Screen™ (GS) chemical substance assessment methodology. As per today, they have published a list of 13 PIN flame retardants, all GS benchmark 2 or better on their accepted substance list.
Chemical Watch Special Report Autumn/Winter 2015 “Business Guide to Safer Chemicals in the Supply Chain including alternatives assessment”