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Step 1. Gather information on chemical content

In Step 1, we walk you through what information you should ask your suppliers for and tips on web-resources for more information about legislations and chemical content of your goods.

1.1 Chemical legislations for goods

The consulting company Trossa has, on behalf of the Substitution Center, compiled support material for systematic chemical work. The material consists of: (1) A legal requirements guide for materials used in products such as clothing, shoes, accessories, furniture and furnishings. (2) Template to use when contacting suppliers and (3) Excel-sheets to map supply chain. The guide can also be used for other goods using materials which are covered in the support material.

Materials covered

Glass Rubber Ceramics Leatherette Leather
Metal Paper Paperboard Plastic Stone
Upholstery Textile Wood

Tips! All template documents we refer to in the Substitution Guide are collected under Support material where you also find detailed instructions. 

Read more and download Support material here


1.2 Products under specific legislation

Do you need more information on definitions for goods or legislation in addition to the Product Safety Act (for example electronics, cosmetics, toys etc.) and what applies under REACH? Visit the Swedish Chemicals Agency's website for more information.

Go the Swedish Chemicals Agency's website

NEWS! European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) developed a tool for SMEs. The tool can be used to track changes in chemical legislations easier.

Go to the Legislation finder

1.3 Chemical Criteria based on material

Given how many chemicals are being produced and the number of products available, it is not easy to know what requirements you should make for different materials and products. The materials can also be treated with chemicals to give or maintain a desired property or function. While defining requirements for your goods, the chemical requirements should be relevant for the material in question.

Our supporting material contains templates which cover current legislation for different materials. Use the templates to gather information about chemical content in your materials from suppliers in your supply chain. You can customize the templates to suit your company's needs and, for example, expand with additional requirements on chemicals. The certificates for suppliers are available in both Swedish and English and are intended for the materials in the table above.

Tips! Contact us if you need guidance in communicating with suppliers or adjusting the templates.

Read more and download Support material here

1.4 Beyond the law

Unfortunately, there are chemicals with environmental and health risks which are not regulated yet. The concern regarding chemicals is not only driven by legislation, but also through committed researchers, NGOs and conscious consumers. The increasing awareness of chemicals has also led to communication efforts of selected chemical groups in other forums, like consumer magazines and social media. More and more companies are therefore establishing criteria beyond the law. Below we list various initiatives that map relevant chemicals and requirements for different products and materials:

General databases

Industry-specific databases

  • Chemsec SIN List: Find undesirable substances used in +10 industries.
  • ChemSec – Textile Guide: Guide and database to help you replace hazardous chemicals in textiles.
  • HCPP: Database of chemicals associated with plastic packaging which are harmful to health or the environment.

Requirements, criteria and restriction lists

General information for substances of concern

  • Echa Consumer web: Information on chemicals found in consumer products.
  • SIXCLASSES: Several guides for substances of concern and related products PFAS, antimicrobial agents, flame retardants, bisphenols, phthalates, solvents and more.


Tips! The Swedish centre for chemical substitution is happy to guide you through the adaptation of templates for suppliers to set relevant chemical requirements for your products. This way, you can be one step ahead of competitors and act before chemicals of concern are regulated.

1.5 Additional documentation

In addition to completing the Substitution Centers templates for suppliers, you can ask suppliers for other types of documentation. For example:

  • A certificate that the supplier complies with special legislation
  • Safety data sheet for additives used in your materials
  • Composition Lists
  • Analysis protocol from an accredited laboratory

Note that the supplier is not obliged to share this information and that cooperation will vary between suppliers.

1.6 Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDA)

Sometimes, a confidentiality agreement (or non-disclosure agreement, NDA) may be required to gather information on chemical content. While discussing your sustainability goals with suppliers, make sure you determine the conditions for how information should be shared. The advanced suppliers can be completely transparent and share exactly what substances, hazard classifications and quantities they use. A middle-ground could be receiving information about chemical content with any hazard classification and concentration – but not the exact compound.

Templates to formulate a privacy agreement are available on the internet. Use your preferred search engine to find one which suits you.

1.7 Transparency

Increase collaboration with transparent suppliers over time. A long-lasting and good relationship with a supplier can increase trust between both parties. Transparency is also a key for the transition to a circular economy.

Use our Excel template in the support material to map the supply chain and obtain an overview of your suppliers. There are also several paid services which can help you identify and communicate in the supply chain.

Read more and download the Support material here

1.8 Document systematically

In our support material, you can find Excel templates for structuring information about products and mapping the supply chain. Feel free to download the support material and use the Excel template as a basis for your systematic chemical work.

There are also paid services that help you document systematically if you prefer to use it.

Read more and download the Support material here


Nina Melander

Contact person

Nina Melander

Rådgivare Substitutionscentrum

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