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Several large corporations have adopted concepts in the areas of sustainable development, responsible care and corporate social responsibility.  Sustainability is often mentioned as a key goal by organisations and many of them are actively integrating sustainability principles into their business models. Today, social trends around sustainability as well as existing and emerging regulatory requirements create both pressure and opportunities for companies.  When it comes to compliance with chemical regulations, some companies see it only as a burden, whereas others try to turn the compliance requirements into a business opportunity.

In the past, chemicals management had the tendency to focus on operations inside the company gates (e.g. how the company operated and responded to incidents) with an emphasis on operational effectiveness and compliance management.  As such, chemicals management has been seen as a cost of doing business and avoiding fines or worse.  Looking at chemicals management across the value chain, however, has changed this perspective for many operators.  This implies that companies may also look at compliance management more strategically.

ECHA commissioned a study to better understand the impact of the REACH & CLP implementation on change drivers at strategic level for these organisations within their sustainability framework.

Overall, the aim of this study is was to gather insights on the impact of REACH & CLP implementation on industry’s strategies in the context of sustainability.  The specific objectives are as follows:

  • The study will aim to bring insight into the impact of REACH & CLP on industry’s strategies related to sustainable development, responsible care and corporate social responsibility.  Examples of good practices where REACH & CLP implementation has created opportunities, drivers or impediments for these strategies will be collected;
  • The study will gain knowledge on how the specific regulatory elements of REACH & CLP (e.g. registration, SVHC identification, and authorisation) affect corporate strategies for value creation by addressing these key questions directly to chief executives in relevant industry sectors, involving ECHA senior management; and
  • The outcome of the study should provide ECHA’s management with a good overview of external and internal change drivers that have triggered initiatives in various sectors, with attention paid to chemical companies (manufacturers, importers, formulators) as well as downstream users (e.g. retail sector) and investors (investment funds, venture capital, business angels).  In particular, attention should be paid to examples where regulatory compliance has triggered innovation and enhanced competition of companies.

The overall outcome of the study will be used by ECHA’s management as a basis for strategic reflection on how regulatory compliance creates specific leverage for business goals within the sustainability framework and how ECHA can further support these efforts.  Ultimately this will help ECHA’s management to identify potential future initiatives and adapt its communication with the top management of industry accordingly in order to better understand and therefore be able to stimulate the right triggers that would drive companies to integrate their regulatory compliance into their business decisions.

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