Decoding Green Practices in Product Communication

Decoding Green Practices in Product Communication

Chemicals in Products

HEJSupport participated as a speaker in the Sustainable ChemTalk: Decoding Green Practices in Product Communication Webinar, which discussed the importance of communicating information on chemicals and material ingredients as part of product sustainability information to consumers. Organized by the Consumer Information Programme of the One Planet Network, the event convened top professionals in consumer protection, chemical management, and environmental sustainability.

In the presentation, HEJSupport explains what the Global Minimum Transparency Standard is and how it can help companies provide accurate information about chemicals in materials and products to different stakeholders. The presentation also noted the main obstacles to higher adoption of harmonized systems to communicate chemicals (such as GMTS) and the ways to overcome them.

In addition, HEJSupport highlighted the big challenges faced by concumers regarding information about chemicals in products. Consumers should understand and support the need for more transparency to information about chemical content of products and its traceability in individual products.  Companies often do not disclose chemicals used in their products, citing trade secrets. It is especially problematic for toxic chemicals that may negatively impact consumer’s health.

Consumers should well understand that the lack of transparency and traceability of chemical information in individual products makes it difficult for them to make informed choices that will be best for their health. The problem is true for many sectors, including toys and textiles where product labels do not include information about the presence of toxic chemicals in products.

Usually, consumers can identify the presence of toxic chemicals in products only if laboratory analyses are conducted. But how should the consumer know what chemical information to request? Or what chemicals to test?

Chemical-related claims should be available to consumers for all products, whether those products are sold in-store or online. However, a customer cannot hold the company that runs the Internet platform responsible for the harm from a product that is sold by third party on the platform. Internet platforms need more understanding of what information on chemical contents they should ask for, as there are so many national standards and legislations to ensure compliance.

In addition, consumers should be aware of misleading claims about products’ safety or environmental friendliness, known as greenwashing. This can mislead consumers and deprive them of having an indepth information and understanding what product to chose.

To overcome these challenges, consumers need to support the idea of a mandatory globally harmonized chemical transparency standard and that it should go hand in hand with the traceability of chemical information in individual products. At the minimum, consumers need to have information about harmful chemicals in products based on the globally accepted list of such chemicals that should be regularly revised as more chemicals can be added to the list based on new scientific data.

The webinar recording is available at

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Written by Olga Speranskaya