Responsible Chemical Management in Manufacturing

Published 28th June 2018

Responsible chemical management is fast becoming an absolute requirement for any brand or retailer as part of a sustainable product offering. This is invariably placing pressure on upstream manufacturers to provide products that are produced in the absence of hazardous chemistry. This means an additional effort around chemical management for the entire upstream supply chain including chemical procurement, storage, handling and use, and waste management.

How Best Practice is Driving Responsible Chemical Management

One area which is gaining focus is how to impose ‘best practice chemical management’ at the manufacturing facilities; the current restricted chemical regulations for finished products are extensive. However, in spite of this, compliance to regulations in multiple jurisdictions could still allow for the use of hazardous chemistry in manufacturing, with adhesives and solvents as a good example.

Best practice chemical management would include the following considerations:

  • Chemical handling
  • Chemical storage
  • Disposal of chemicals
  • Understanding Safety Data Sheets (SDS)
  • Creation and maintenance of a Chemical Inventory Log (CIL)
  • Understanding Restricted Substance Lists (RSL)
  • Understanding Manufacturing Restricted Substance Lists (MRSL)
  • The importance of CAS numbers
  • Environmental and physical hazards from chemicals used onsite
  • Chemical management audits

The responsible use of chemicals requires a holistic viewpoint taking into account the entire life cycle of the product involving the whole value chain.

In addition, popular industry-lead responsible chemical management schemes such as Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) encourage brands and retailers to work with manufacturers and suppliers to eliminate the use of harmful chemicals in production.

Developing Responsible Chemical Management Through Chem-MAP®

The ZDHC approved Chem-MAP® system encourages businesses in the leather, textiles and synthetics supply chain to develop systems for responsible chemical management through specifically designed programmes:


m-MAP Programme for Manufacturers

Manufacturers are supported through on-site chemical management audits and staff training. Completion of the m-MAP Programme enables manufacturers to achieve the Chem-MAP® Approved Manufacturers (CAM) award, and staff on-site have the opportunity to achieve the Level 1 or Level 2 Chem-MAP® Approved Technician (CAT) award.

Read more about the m-MAP Programme.


b-MAP Programme for Brands and Retailers

Brands and retailers who engage with the b-MAP Programme are encouraged to develop responsible chemical management through an audit of existing systems. Benchmarking and gap analysis of RSLs and MRSLs are carried out as part of the Programme against industry leaders and best practice guidelines. As a result of these activities, brands and retailers achieve a b-MAP score which is designed to progress in line with the development of chemical management systems.

Read more about the b-MAP Programme.


Develop Responsible Chemical Management in Your Business

For more information on how BLC can support with managing chemical risk and developing chemical management systems through Chem-MAP®, please email, telephone +44 (0) 1604 679 999 or complete the web form at the bottom of this page.

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