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Before you begin your work with substitution

Systematic work with chemicals can be a significant and complex issue. So, it is important to begin by defining motivations relevant for your organization: Why will you work with chemical-related questions? Here you will find some introductory tips and advice.

Set sustainability goals for your organization

In Sweden, we have a national sustainable development goal to reach a “non-toxic environment” which can be used as guidance for companies. By defining measurable internal chemical goals for your business, it will be easier to engage the employees, track your successes and communicate your work in your sustainability report.

The goals may differ depending on the business sector and how advanced you are. Make priorities and start as big or small as your business can handle, every step is a step in the right direction!

Keep in mind that your company is responsible for ensuring that the products you sell are safe and comply with existing regulations for chemicals.

Find inspiration for sustainability goals for chemicals:

  • Sverigesmiljömål.se: Information on how you can work on environmental issues, download proposals for environmental policy for smaller companies (service companies, trading companies and product-producing companies) and read about how your company can achieve the goal of a Non-toxic Environment. (Swedish)
  • Länsstyrelsen, Miljömål för SMF: Guidance for small and medium-sized companies in the manufacturing industry, for working with the environmental goals and the ecological perspective in Agenda 2030. (Swedish)
  • Miljömål för byggbranschen: Environmental goals for the construction industry: The County Administrative Board provides guidance for companies in the construction and real estate sectors to work with the environmental goals and the ecological perspective in Agenda 2030. (Swedish)

Consultancy checks

There is regional and municipal financial support for the development of SMEs called consultancy checks. We encourage smaller companies to review what is available to you and whether you can receive financial support for starting up systematic chemical work.

General criteria for consulting checks:

  •   Provided to strengthen skills where there is none
  •   The effort must be for a limited period
  •   For smaller companies

Identify goods to start working with based on risk

The Swedish Chemicals Agency has together with the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency and Future Trade produced a guide called “Environmental Requirements for Chemicals in Products - a guide for purchasers”. One section provides guidance on how to prioritize goods for proactive chemical work based on factors such as production volume and exposure risks. By limiting yourself to high-risk goods you can start laying the foundation for your future work with chemicals, which can be expanded to more goods in the future.

Go to guide

Form an agreement with your subcontractors

If you are working with subcontractors located outside the EU it is of major importance to set up a chemical agreement. The agreement should include requirements for the supplier to comply with and understand the EU legislations:

  • REACH regulation
  • POPs regulation
  • Biocidal products regulation
  • Packaging and packaging waste directive
  • Other legislations that are relevant for your products

The agreement can also include requirements to fill in our templates for contact with subcontractors and compliance with any potential restriction lists, as described in Step 1.

Ecolabelling of goods

If your business buys goods, consider choosing eco-labelled products when possible.

As a producing company, a chemical strategy can be to label an assortment or product / product with a label using chemical requirements. Miljömärkning AB develops criteria for different product or service areas using a life cycle perspective - from raw material to waste including chemical consumption. Ecolabel Sweden is host for the Nordic Swan and EU Ecolabel.

The Nordic Swan label is an established eco-label with high consumer awareness in Sweden (96%).

See Nordic Swan website

More examples of Eco-labels
TCO Certified - for electronic products
Good Environmental Choice - Naturskyddsföreningens label

Tips! Contact the Substitution Center for Chemical Substitution if you need help and guidance on how to begin working on the substitution issue in your company.

Continue to Step 1 - Gather Information

Nina Melander

Contact person

Nina Melander

Rådgivare Substitutionscentrum

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