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ChemSec Unveils Chemical Guide for Investors

ChemSec, the Swedish-based environmental NGO, unveiled a chemical cataloging tool aimed to help investors determine risk and put pressure on companies to move away from hazardous chemicals.

The Chemical Criteria Catalog contains a set of 38 indicators intended to cover all aspects of chemical risks and opportunities for chemical manufacturers. The crtieria catalog is another step in the NGO’s effort to move the sector towards disclosing more information about the chemicals it produces, ChemSec said. Investors can play a core role by requesting this information, said Sonja Haider, ChemSec business and investors advisor.

ChemSec has developed other tools to help investors complete risk analysis and help manufacturers find safe alternatives to certain chemicals.

ChemSec developed an online tool for manufacturers called SubsPort. In announcing the tool last month, ChemSec also published a number of case studies from companies, including German sign manufacturer Kilian Industrieschilder and carpet firm Shaw Industries, that found environmentally friendly substitutes for dangerous chemicals in their manufacturing processes.

ChemSec’s Substitute It Now list, typically referred to as the SIN List, identifies chemicals likely to face future regulation in the EU, and is used by several investment firms and rating agencies, including MSCI ESG Research.

The SIN List currently consists of 378 chemicals that ChemSec has identified as Substances of Very High Concern based on the criteria established by the EU chemical regulation agency REACH. ChemSec also has compiled information about which companies produce the chemicals on the SIN List.

Last year, ChemSec and environmental law organization ClientEarth sued REACH over its refusal to release the names of companies producing what the two groups call some of the most dangerous chemicals in the EU market. The chemicals in question are those that appear on ChemSec’s SIN list.

ChemSec says EU Commission officials have promised that all relevant Substances of Very High Concern will be identified and included in the REACH Candidate list by 2020, the first step towards being banned in the EU.

The production of industrial chemicals has increase from 1 million metric tons per year in 1930 to more than 400 million metric tons today, ChemSec said. The chemical industry’s world sales were valued at €2,353 billion in 2010, according to the European Chemical Industry Council’s Chemical Industry Profile.

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