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Chemicals Management Framework

SAC, Outdoor Industry Association Launch Chemical Management Tool

Chemicals Management FrameworkThe Chemicals Management Working Group (CMWG) has developed a tool to help chemical suppliers and purchasers identify and choose ingredients that meet quality expectations while minimizing impacts on humans and the environment.

The Chemicals Management Module (CMM), also called the Chemicals Management Framework, allows businesses to assess chemical management practices within their companies and supply chains against shared industry benchmarks for best practices. It can also help companies develop a roadmap for integrating a chemicals management system into their operations, including highlighting opportunities for improvement and external resources, tools and services that can help firms achieve their chemicals management action plans.

The CMWG — a joint collaborative effort of Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) and the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) — says it hopes the tool provides a guide to help companies better manage chemicals and create safer products. DuPont, REI, MEC and Patagonia are among the companies that have been very involved in the development and pilot of CMM, according to an OIA spokesperson.

The CMM indicators will be integrated into the Higg Index 2.0, launching in November, to bolster the chemicals management portion of the SAC’s sustainability assessment tool for the apparel and footwear industries. Once the CMM is integrated into the Higg Index 2.0, it will be used by both OIA and SAC member companies.

Last month, SAC selected Schneider Electric to develop the new web-based version of its Higg Index. Version 2.0 will use use Schneider Electric’s sustainability and energy management software platform, StruxureWare Resource Advisor.

The SAC, created in March 2011 by nearly 30 manufacturers and retailers including Nike, Target and Levi’s, currently represents about 40 percent of the global apparel and footwear market with more than 90 members including Adidas, Gap, H&M, Kohl’s, Marks & Spencer, Nordstrom and REI.

The CMM launches as California’s Safer Consumer Products initiative goes into effect. Under the program, the state will ask manufacturers to investigate the feasibility of replacing toxic chemicals in their goods, starting with five priority products to be identified by April.

The new California regulations will affect manufacturers across the US, says Gretchen Lee Salter, senior program and policy manager at the Breast Cancer Fund. Many companies, such as Procter & Gamble and Walmart, have already announced plans to eliminate or reduce toxic chemicals in consumer products nationwide, Slater says. Conforming to the rules governing the nation’s most populous state “means to reformulate, period.”

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