Introduced by the European Union in 2007, REACH is focused on chemicals and their safe use. The aim of the single system is to improve the protection of human health and the environment through better and earlier identification of the properties of chemical substances.
Under the terms of the regulation, manufacturers are legally required to gather information on the properties of their chemical substances – which will allow their safe handling – and to register the information in a central database run by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) in Helsinki.
Registration of these products is scheduled to take place over a period of several years and AkzoNobel has now met the deadline requirements for the second phase.
The extensive work involved in the REACH process has also proved beneficial in other areas of the company’s activities, all of which has contributed to AkzoNobel’s first place ranking on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index.
“We have learned from REACH and have adopted a similar approach when evaluating chemicals under our global product stewardship programs,” explained Eva Österberg, who is chairperson of the company’s REACH workgroup.
“This way, we are using the latest evaluation techniques and can ensure we are consistent in our approach to substance management throughout the world. It also fits perfectly with our priority substances program, which drives substitution of hazardous substances with more sustainable alternatives.”
The company’s REACH team is now busy with ongoing tasks and working towards the successful completion of the third registration phase in June 2018, which is focused on chemicals manufactured or imported in quantities of between 1 and 100 metric tons per year.