Insights on Environmental Health & Safety (EHS), Operational Risk and Product Stewardship

Product Stewardship Roundtable Rolls Out Slew of Chemical Concerns

October 18th, 2018
Sphera Events
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Product Stewardship is literally the quintessential element—or, more accurately, elements—ingrained in every fiber of every product that companies make, sell or distribute.

Making sure the chemistry within goods meets all pertinent regulatory requirements is a full-time job, but, more than that, it is every organization’s duty to ensure the products they make are safe and sustainable for their workforce and, of course, the world.

To learn more about how organizations are focusing on their chemical management and processes, Sphera hosted a roundtable discussion at the recent Product Stewardship conference in Washington, D.C.

The roundtable, which took place on Sept. 28, was led by Francis Trudeau, Sphera’s solution manager for Product Stewardship. The other participants were Jennifer Howell, director of regulatory innovation at FONA International, a flavors company; Chuck McCormick, consultancy ERM’s Environmental Health & Safety expert; and Fred Gouzoules, Ph.D., a consultant with Whole-in-One LLC.

The discussion began with a question from Trudeau: “What aspects of Product Stewardship are most important to you?”

Gouzoules kicked it off by saying, “I think of Product Stewardship as the major function to protect the logo of the company, and, really, after numerous issues in recent years with things like microbeads in the Great Lakes or life cycle issues around perfluorinated chemicals or Bisphenol-A, it’s becoming expected and necessary to address Product Stewardship aspects in an upfront and diligent way.”

Howell said that “stewardship is one of our core values” at FONA . She added that FONA has recently started using a new drying process that releases fewer volatile organic compounds (VOCs) “into the atmosphere, and that’s an exciting move for us. And then also we’re digging really deeply into the supply chain transparency piece to understand more of where our footprint is and how it’s impacting natural areas around the world.”

 bottling orange carbonated juice into bottles.

McCormick on the other hand talked about the business implications of Product Stewardship: “I really look at the product compliance aspects both in terms of their risk and their impact—meaning potential to close off a market, stop a transaction, those kinds of things. That’s the lens I’m typically looking through in the Product Stewardship space.”

The conversation touched on other compelling topics such as how customer concerns on chemicals ingredients can be as challenging to deal with as regulatory constraints. The panel also touched on the difficulty with data-sharing, especially when substances have different names around the world. A third was the emergence of Korea REACH which, although is not as complex as the EU REACH, still requires Substance Volume Tracking so that one can comply with registration and chemical safety assessment requirements.

As you see, there’s a lot of moving parts in the Product Stewardship world, and chemical compliance is essential to ensure safety in the real world. Learn more about Sphera’s Product Stewardship capabilities or contact us for more information.

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