Human health and environmental safety are of utmost importance to Clariant. A thorough safety and risk assessment for each product is at the core of the company’s stewardship approach and forms the takeoff point for its sustainable chemistry commitment. Handling chemicals responsibly and safely, consistent with emerging regulations, is key for Clariant’s portfolio risk and opportunity management process. This process enables the company to serve markets with innovative and sustainable products that align with regulatory requirements, while also responding to market trends.
Over the past few years, product stewardship has evolved from a prerequisite for legal complianceComplianceCompliance is a key element of Corporate Governance. It refers to compliance with the law and directives as well as with company codes and ethical business practices and behaviors. into a key enabler for Clariant’s business: It includes gathering, analyzing, and assessing regulatory and emerging issues that are relevant to the marketing of Clariant’s portfolio.
Sustainability leadership, however, goes even further than assessing human health and environmental safety. It also requires a company to pursue sustainable and innovative solutions proactively. Therefore, Clariant sets a strong focus on continuously steering its environmental performance toward increased sustainability and setting new environmental benchmarks through leading-edge operations and innovation. With the company‘s vision to become climate neutral by 2050, it has set itself ambitious targets that allow it to measure its success based on clearly defined metrics and milestones. Driven by societal demand and policy attention, customers and markets are increasingly aware of – and sensitive to – the sustainability features of products. By screening products along their life cycles and all innovation projects against strict and forward-looking sustainability criteria, Clariant aims to develop more sustainable and innovative solutions that support long-term value creation.
008BU KEY CONTACT - CONNECTING INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL STAKEHOLDERS
The Global Product Stewardship Organization, which is part of the Group Innovation and Sustainability (GIS), exemplifies Clariant’s global approach to product stewardship. The organization takes care of health, safety, environmental, and all relevant regulatory aspects of the company’s portfolio throughout product life cycles, following clear guidelines underpinned by the Sustainability Policy and process descriptions. In addition, local and regional teams play an integral role by supporting business and external customer communication in all regulatory issues regarding the management of chemicals.
The company has embedded its product stewardship practices into the innovation process, guaranteeing that chemical safety and regulatory complianceComplianceCompliance is a key element of Corporate Governance. It refers to compliance with the law and directives as well as with company codes and ethical business practices and behaviors. are considered throughout the entire product life cycle. Product stewardship ensures adequate communication to consumers on the safe use and handling of products.
Evaluating the management approach includes internal controls, progress-tracking dashboards, benchmarking against peers using external references such as the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, and participation in external networks, discussions, and report reviews. Product stewardship also forms an important part of the indicators for the assessment of Clariant’s environmental sustainability pillar by ESG ratings agencies, such as Sustainalytics, MSCI, and others.
For each business unit, a senior Product Stewardship expert (BU Key Contact) with sound knowledge of the product portfolio of the respective business unit is assigned. This guarantees that business units’ Product Stewardship issues will be tackled and solved in an efficient and cost-optimized way. The expert also has a profound knowledge of the company and excellent communication skills to ensure that the Product Stewardship strategy is communicated and implemented in the business unit. To advocate Clariant’s interests outside of the company, he or she must be well connected with external networks.
Internally, the BU Key Contact receives full support from all Product Stewardship functions. Any new business information (strategy, portfolio, R&D developments) is conveyed to Product Stewardship. This enables the supervision of all aspects of a product or portfolio – e.g., regulatory matters from cradle to end-of-life for the respective portfolio or toxicology/ecotoxicology. Also, the Product Stewardship experts ensure the Customer Support and Product Steward project coordination of business unit products. Close cooperation and the inclusion of a multitude of aspects are key in creating a portfolio marketability strategy.
Communication in combination with sound knowledge is a key skill for the BU Key Contact. The expert helps prevent the Clariant business partners and customers from reputational or legal risks, and increases customer satisfaction. The senior expert takes care of a proper communication of the value chain requirements, monitors relevant ecological retailer standards, and communicates them.
Networking skills are also crucial to the BU Key Contact. Product Stewardship shapes Clariant’s positioning in chemical associations in view of chemicals management development – in close cooperation with Corporate Sustainability. The BU Key Contacts assume proactive regulatory product advocacy in external (chemical) associations on a country (e.g., VCI), regional (e.g., Cefic, ACC) and global level (ICCA).
Clariant monitors regulatory developments worldwide, assesses the impact of changes, and ensures complianceComplianceCompliance is a key element of Corporate Governance. It refers to compliance with the law and directives as well as with company codes and ethical business practices and behaviors. by continuously updating its global state-of-the-art chemical management systems. Proximity to regulatory bodies and participation in expert groups and associations support proactive management. Ensuring regulatory complianceComplianceCompliance is a key element of Corporate Governance. It refers to compliance with the law and directives as well as with company codes and ethical business practices and behaviors. also includes substance registration with relevant regional and national authorities, as well as supply chain communication on product safety.
Clariant fully commits to the targets of the EU REACH (European Union Registration, Evaluation, Authorization, and Restriction of Chemicals) Regulation. After successfully registering all relevant chemicals in 2018, all product dossiers are kept up to date. In 2022, 56 dossier updates have been performed. It continues to cooperate with regulatory bodies and has joined the European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic)/European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) cooperation agreement on the review and improvement of REACH registration dossiers.
Clariant goes beyond complianceComplianceCompliance is a key element of Corporate Governance. It refers to compliance with the law and directives as well as with company codes and ethical business practices and behaviors. with regulatory requirements: As a signatory to the Cefic Responsible Care® Declaration, the company supports the Responsible Care® Global Charter. It promotes the program in several countries and has embedded these principles in its sustainability policy, underlining its strong commitment and leadership in sustainable chemistry.
In a Cefic Long-Range Research Initiative (LRI) project, Clariant’s Global Toxicology & Ecotoxicology Group has initiated and co-developed the AMBIT tool. This open cheminformatics data management system supports companies by facilitating chemical safety assessment. Its database includes more than 450 000 chemical structures and a REACH dataset of 14 570 substances and helps predict the properties of one chemical using the known properties of similar chemicals. The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) supports this tool by giving access to nonconfidential registration data.
Countries around the world increasingly introduce chemical regulations like the EU REACH Regulation to ensure the safe use of chemicals. Clariant Product Stewardship closely monitors the developments and takes necessary actions to ensure that the portfolio complies with upcoming legislation, among other factors. In Turkey, Clariant already preregistered the relevant chemical substances. Following the European Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability, Clariant’s Product Stewardship organization operates an implementation program to ensure the incorporation of all new legal requirements into its business processes and policies according to the transition periods for REACH respective CLP (the European regulation on classification, labeling and packaging of substances and mixtures). Product Stewardship in 2022 also worked on implementing the new cosmetics regulation in China, the requirements of Turkish REACH KKDIK and of UK REACH.
Sustainable chemistry commitment
Sustainable chemistry encompasses the design, manufacturing, and use of efficient, effective, and safe chemical products and processes that are more environmentally benign. Clariant maintains roadmaps to drive innovation and uncover sustainability-improvement opportunities in the product portfolio.
Clariant is a member of the World Business Council on Sustainable Development (WBCSD). This initiative brings forward best practices and encourages companies to adopt methodologies for evaluating and steering their product portfolio toward more sustainability. In 2021, Clariant supported the development of a set of sustainability indicators for evaluating product portfolios in the chemical industry. In 2022, Clariant further supported the development of the PVP in the WBCSD, enhancing it from PVP 1.0 to PVP 2.0.
The WBCSD also annually assesses the quality of Clariant sustainability reporting. The report for 2022 was evaluated positively in multiple areas. The evaluation also highlighted several strengths, which include: the discussion on how megatrends influence Clariant’s strategy, a good variety of implementation and control mechanisms, and a clear and transparent disclosure of performance data.
Assessment of the health and safety impacts of product and service categories
Clariant focuses on reducing certain hazardous substances in its product portfolio and promoting alternatives that exceed the requirements of the relevant regulations. This approach is particularly important in regions where regulatory action is lagging. In 2022, 76.6 % of significant product and service categories were assessed for health and safety impacts. Clariant has thus covered 1.4 percentage points less in the reporting year than in the preceding year.
Genetically modified organisms
Clariant is committed to providing innovative responses to today’s global challenges, such as the transition to a low-carbon and circular economy and the ever-increasing demands of a growing world population. For Clariant, biotechnology offers unique opportunities to respond to the demands of a modern and globalized society.
Clariant considers the application of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) as part of its technology portfolio for more sustainable and efficient production processes, particularly the use of genetically modified microorganisms (GMMs). Clariant takes a transparent and responsible stance and is committed to the responsible use of GMOs and safe operations in research and innovation, enzyme production, and sourcing of bio-based raw materials. Clariant has set out this stance in its Position Paper. In 2022, no more products of the Clariant portfolio contain GMOs.
Requirements for product and service information and labeling
Clariant fosters regular and continuous contact with customers and supports them in applying and using Clariant’s products. Laboratories are made available to solve specific problems. The service offerings also feature comprehensive product information, particularly with respect to optimum and safe application, health risks, waste disposal, and handling of packaging.
Clariant provides safety data sheets to all parties involved in the handling of substances. The sheets contain the relevant substance data, information on safe handling and storage of products, and measures in the event of product spillages, releases, or fire.
A close relationship with customers is maintained, and all REACH-relevant information is provided. Comprehensive customer support services ensure complianceComplianceCompliance is a key element of Corporate Governance. It refers to compliance with the law and directives as well as with company codes and ethical business practices and behaviors. with the strict communication requirements set by REACH regarding the use of products in the customer chain.
Communication between Clariant and its customers
The Customer Support (CS) function ensures the business support for Product Stewardship-related communication to customers. The CS collects regulatory-relevant data to assess the relevant regulatory status of products and ensure legal complianceComplianceCompliance is a key element of Corporate Governance. It refers to compliance with the law and directives as well as with company codes and ethical business practices and behaviors. for customers. The CS ensures and performs the communication of regulatory status to satisfy customer demand and ensures traceable archiving of customer requests and PS confirmations and statements. There were more than 10 000 individual customer requests in 2022.
Clariant is committed to research on alternatives to animal testing. The Product Stewardship organization supports an active research portfolio and engages with academic partners to facilitate the development of an integrated in vitro approach for developmental immunotoxicity screening. The approach promises to reduce requirements for animal testing in regulatory developmental toxicity studies.
In 2022, Clariant initiated a partnership with the IUF Leibniz Research Institute for Environmental Medicine to develop an in vitro assay battery to characterize chemical effects on the development and function of immune cells as part of the so-called »T-cell-dependent antibody response.« In addition, Clariant has collaborated with the University of Potsdam, resulting in an in vitro screening assay for developmental impacts of chemicals on dendritic cells, a different type of immune cell.