“A substitution center is a positive initiative – the chemicals question need to be raised”

2017-04-04

(Published by IVL – IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute, April 3, 2017 12:05 EDT)

The government wants to speed up the current work towards replacing problem chemicals. The Environment Minister Karolina Skog and Economic Development and Innovation Minister Mikael Damberg were on the 31 March presented with a government report on a substitution center for chemicals.

The report proposes that the government set up a center for the substitution of hazardous substances in products, and chemical products. The substitution center will primarily target merchant companies that are close to consumers – mainly small and medium-sized enterprises and those who handle merchandise – and will also stimulate innovative, smart chemical products and business developments.

– We welcome the proposal. The chemicals issue needs more focus and resources in the future. We also believe that a proactive approach to substitution of hazardous substances strengthen the competitiveness of companies, says Anna Jarnehammar, director of business development at IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute.

She feels that the investigation described the problem with the supply chain in a clear and useful way, and that a success with regards to substitution work will only come through cooperation/synergy within the supply chains. IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute has through the BASTA-system, actively supported ways and working processes to phase out particularly dangerous substances from building materials.

– We see that the chemical issues are particularly challenging for companies with complex and composite products. The reasons for this is primarily due to the lengthiness of the supply chains which might mean that knowledge of the chemical substances included in a product might be lost along the way, says Anna Jarnehammar.

She also believe that it is a good thing that the proposed substitution the Center will not conduct research but rather initiate research and development projects within the framework of other innovation and research programs. However, she believes that the scope is too wide for a center to cope with under the proposed budget and that it is important to focus efforts during the buildup phase on a few selected sections. The report proposes that the Center should be established as an independent organization, through a joint initiative between government and industry.

– We believe that a closer connection to the existing organization would be more cost effective and that the state would get more for their money. The business would be able to operate independently in all cases but with resources that are purchased from existing organisations.

Link to the commission’s report

For questions please contact: Anna Jarnehammar, anna.jarnehammar@ivl.se,
Phone no.  010-788 65 76