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INTRODUCTION The detergents industry is certainly very interested and pro-active in pushing forward sustainable cleaning and sustainability in these sectors is a key issue shared by producers and consumers alike. Europe has been caring for these matters for quite some time now, which has led to the creation of a number of institutions actively studying them. A.I.S.E. (International Association for Soaps, Detergents and Maintenance Products) has been committed to these topics since its foundation. The A.I.S.E. is a network of 35 national associations in 31 countries representing over 900 companies ranging from small and medium sized (SMEs) to multi-nationals active in the consumer goods and/or industrial and institutional (I&I) markets – a market worth estimated at about 35 billion euro. THE A.I.S.E. INFORMATION DAY IN BRUSSELS: SUSTAINABILITY A COMMITMENT Brussels, the heart of new Europe, is the place where nations, once divided not only by geographical borders, meet to seek a new way to meet commonly shared needs. Harsh discussion is always present, and chemical issues are no exception. Quite the contrary in fact, hard feelings often make their way amongst opposing parties involved with these topics. The Information Day event organised by A.I.S.E. to officially present its “Charter for Sustainable Cleaning” and held on the 1st of December 2004 in Brussels at the Renaissance Hotel provided a good example of the different views over these issues in Europe. The event was attended by leading companies of the sector and by representatives of the EU Commission, Parliament, NGO’s and other related industries and organisations. The high-level panel of speakers included: Catherine Day, Director General of DG Environment, Patrick Hennessy, DG Enterprise, Anders Wijkman MEP, Chris Davies MEP, Simon Smits, representing the Dutch Presidency and Chairman of the Council ad-hoc Working Group on REACH, Bas de Leeuw, Head of the Strategy Unit of the Production and Consumption branch at the United Nations Environment Programme, and Stefan Scheuer, Policy Director at the European Environment Bureau. Other important attendees were representatives of associations of the sector such as COLIPA (Belgium), CEFIC (Belgium), FEDERCHIMICA (Italy), ASSOCASA (Italy). Ernie Rosenberg, president of the SDA – the American Soap and Detergent Association was also present and represented the link between Europe and the United States, two areas sharing different aspects of the same issues. Rosenberg brought SDA’s appreciation for this initiative to the audience and described how the US deals with these subjects. WHAT IS THE A.I.S.E. CHARTER FOR SUSTAINABLE CLEANING? The Charter for Sustainable Cleaning provides a single framework that guides all companies in the industry to implement the measures necessary to improve the industry’s sustainability profile over the whole lifecycle of products, from the sourcing of raw materials through manufacturing and distribution to consumer use and disposal. To enhance transparency and credibility, the Charter includes key performance indicators, which will be collected and independently verified, to track improvements in the industry’s sustainability profile over time. The first full-year set of results will be published in 2006 for performance in 2005. The Charter is the latest in a progression of voluntary initiatives undertaken by the A.I.S.E. and its network of national industry associations and member companies. It follows on from the Code of Good Environmental Practice and the Washright (see washright.com) campaign, launched in 1998, and the HERA (see heraproject.com) targeted risk assessment initiative, run jointly with the European chemicals industry. In 1999, A.I.S.E. and CEFIC, the European chemicals industry association, launched HERA (Human and Environmental Risk Assessment), a European voluntary initiative aimed at providing a common risk assessment framework for the household cleaning products industry. Specifically, the Charter was triggered by the Green Paper on Integrated Product Policy, and the industry’s efforts to see how it could best address key issues of eco-efficient innovation in the detergents industry. Charles Laroche, President of A.I.S.E., told the audience “This Charter is a significant new Europewide initiative to improve the detergent industry’s
Household and Personal Care Today • Supplement to chimica oggi/Chemistry Today
’s lifecycle approach during his presentation on the “Charter”. and we believe it is programmes such as these that can help to reconcile the Johannesburg environmental and social goals with the Lisbon competitiveness agenda. welcomed the industry’s initiative: “I’m pleased to see that industry is taking a proactive role in promoting sustainable development. to use and disposal. This is the reason why Mike Handley.sustainable-cleaning. It’s a process aiming at safeguarding both the environment and the health and wellness of customers and consumers.E. who can choose products whose safety is guaranteed when shopping..S. regulations currently under development which are giving rise to strong and harsh discussion between opposing parties.” HOW DOES IT WORK? Companies participating in the Charter will apply sustainability thinking at all phases of the product life-cycle.S. Companies participating in the Charter agree to be independently verified for the Charter entrance check. The Charter itself consists of a set of Charter Sustainability Procedures (CSPs) which companies implement in their management systems. Cleaning: Industrial & Institutional floor applications: Using this logo on the products is important for both the manufacturer.REACH. A WORD FROM THE BRUSSELS INSTITUTIONS Addressing the Information Day. detergents and maintenance products industry. Anyone working in the chemical sector today must face a five-letter term haunting many people’s sleep these days . Catherine Day’s speech aimed at reaching a much larger audience than just the Information Day event attendees. strongly invited all the companies of the sector to join A. yet when it comes down to practical implementation. Treasurer.. Chief Executive Officer of Mc Bride and A.I. We can only shift towards sustainable consumption and production patterns if we have the engagement of all stakeholders and especially business. through manufacture..E..com). Catherine Day.I. I believe that private sector initiatives such as the Charter are necessary in the process towards sustainable development. it clashes against a situation that has to take into account problems of no easy solution. Companies participating in the Charter can be found on the website (www. REACH was born with the best of intentions.I. who certifies it commits to the Charter requirements the consumer. Charter website . Catherine Day launched the new A. The presence of EU Laundry: Dish: 9 Household and Personal Care Today • Supplement to chimica oggi/Chemistry Today . Director-General of DG Environment. Once the criteria are met.S. a tool to guide all those willing to seriously commit to sustainability of the soaps.E.sustainability profile.” During the meeting.sustainablecleaning.com. they are entitled to use the Charter logo. from product design.www. It is part of this industry’s ongoing commitment to turn sustainable development into action.
that’s a fact.I. the Charter for Sustainable Cleaning ideally means crossing the finish line of the responsible care pathway the chemical industry has been following for many years. We are now entering a new phase.org (tel +32 2 230 8371) www. in line with its strong commitment to sustainability. always bearing in mind that they will always find chemical producers and distributors very willing to cooperate and help on these important issues.I.Belgium 10 Household and Personal Care Today • Supplement to chimica oggi/Chemistry Today .S.I.1000 Brussels . They need to seriously think about this opportunity they are offered. Yet.representatives and industry people at the Information day meeting inevitably gave rise to a strong discussion and fruitful exchange of perspectives. For further information please contact Maarten Labberton. All presentations have been made. and. The path to follow has been laid down.com A.I. Sustainability and responsible care have been priority issues in the chemical industry ever since the concepts were first created.S.sustainable-cleaning.I. there were people already working hard to work out solutions to the commonly shared environment protection needs.E.E.E. the various associations and the press to meet and exchange views. The chemical industry has been actively involved in finding solutions for these issues for many years.I. striving to provide tools that are more and more effective in improving the relationship between detergents and the environment. Square Marie-Louise 49 B.S.S.I. Our special thanks go to the A.E. Regulatory commissions must become well aware of this and always seek fair discussion and exchange of views. staff for their incredible commitment to these issues.S. and A. not less important.E.’s Information Day was an opportunity for people from the industry. and so is the industry’s response to these issues.E. objectives have been pinpointed.aise-net. R&D Senior Vice-President for Global Fabric and Home Care in Procter & Gamble.: maarten.S.’s sustainability initiatives.S.S. is available for any further clarification and support. founded well before Reach spontaneous initiatives by a number of manufacturers who felt the need to join together to face sustainability issues and safeguard human and environmental safety be it through the HERA project and/or the new industry initiative.E.E. This report doesn’t want to look into this discussion since this is not the best place to do so. what we would like to underline here is that organisations such as A. while describing A.org www.’s invitation is to all companies of the sector. and contributed significantly to the discussion. We would like to interpret the proactive discussion coming out from the meeting as a sign of true willingness to set up useful cooperation by all parties involved in these issues.S.labberton@aise-net. the Charter.E. to improve their own working environment. Nabil Y. Director-General A. A. It is a great communication opportunity. Davies and Smits were in the same line as A. Speeches by Hennessy. tools have been provided.E.I. to join forces to improve the quality of the environment we all live in.I. an event that stimulates everyone to continue along the path of sustainability. as part of everyone’s effort to provide the clearest information possible in the global community. Under this view. When a “United Europe” was still a blurring concept in everyone’s mind. It was also a networking opportunity for all attendees. Everyday life issues are the next focus – companies need to take action now.S. expressed the vision of the many producers among the Information Day audience and confirmed A. A. To sum up. Sakkab. to improve their own image.’s view over the situation.I.’s availability to support REACH to work out the best possible solutions addressing the whole production chain – from lab to shop shelves.
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