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The chemicals in your supply chain

Your suppliers are key to obtaining information about your product’s chemicals history. This is therefore the natural starting point for gathering information. As their client, you should expect them to provide all necessary details to map your product’s toxic footprint.

However, many suppliers are reluctant to provide information on chemicals content. In an air of confidentially, suppliers restrict information severely and often only certify that the chemicals are in accordance with legal requirements. This sort of certification is of course important as a first step, but far from enough when you want to define your footprint. Ideally, you would like to have from your supplier a complete list of chemical content to be sure of what you have in your product.

You might have to flex your financial muscles in order to attract their attention. De-selecting a supplier because they are not helping you map your chemicals is sometimes a necessary step to take. Hopefully, the pure threat of loosing a client will make your supplier more collaborative.

If you operate inside the EU, you can make use of legal requirements. Suppliers are required through REACH to provide information whether their products contains a “Substance of Very High Concern (SVHC)”. These are substances the EU has prioritized because they have dangerous intrinsic properties. Suppliers of articles that contain a SVHC in concentration above 0.1 per cent must always declare this to professional clients.

For products that contain toxic chemicals, the supplier must also provide you with a safety data sheet.