4.2. Product stewardship
Product stewardship means managing risks throughout the entire life cycle of a product, from the design stage to the end of life. Risks include the possibility of injury or health impact to third parties or damage to their property arising from the use of Solvay products resulting from inappropriate use in a customer's plant or application for which the products are not designed. Risk management is particularly key for products used in healthcare and food and feed applications.
Solvay currently places over 16,000 products on the market. The Group characterizes and manages risks related to the uses and applications of its products, and prioritizes mitigation actions relating to potential inappropriate use. Stewardship programs give adequate information and technical assistance to customers, ensuring a good understanding of safe use and handling.
Product stewardship management system
The Solvay product stewardship management system is used by all Global Business Units and includes the following requirements:
- regulatory compliance management;
- product safety management (composition and hazard information, intended uses and exposure, risk assessment, value chain communication, management of changes);
- crisis management;
- requirements to establish long- and short-term improvement plans to continuously improve the existing management system.
The process ensures that health, safety, environment, regulatory, legal, supply chain, and commercial risks associated with a product’s manufacture, distribution, and sale are identified, prioritized, reviewed, and managed. Solvay’s Product Stewardship Management System has been updated to consider new regulatory requirements and additional potential risk causes.
The main achievement for 2017 is the prioritization of the necessary risk assessments in the GBUs’ product portfolios and the more systematic deployment of risk assessments for the most sensitive product applications according to the GBUs’ planning.
Information and labels for hazardous substances: extended rules
Solvay centrally manages product safety information for all hazardous substances. This is key to ensuring their adequate management both in Solvay operations and along value chains. The following management elements have been reinforced in the last two years, including for the recently acquired Technology Solutions:
- consistent regulatory data, toxicological and ecotoxicological data, and phrases library;
- standardized Safety Data Sheets, using shared rules and models across the Group;
- global approach for around 300 substances of very high concern in products and raw materials.
Safety Data Sheets (SDS) authoring and distribution
Safety Data Sheets
Solvay Safety Data Sheets ensure harmonized content via a common worldwide SAP system for the Group. Control by SDS shipping allows confirmation that any product marketed by Solvay is accompanied by a compliant SDS. Solvay monitors the discrepancies registered during checks and manages failures due to shipping. The automatic Safety Data Sheet authoring and distribution systems (rules for classification, automatic distribution according to the countries of sale, Global Labeling Management, etc.) applies to all products in the Group.
Composite materials will be integrated during 2018.
Compliance with Europe’s REACH regulation
In Europe, Solvay fully complies with the REACH agenda for product registrations. REACH is an advanced framework regulation that requires companies to have a good knowledge of substances through the collection and organization of reliable and systematic safety information, including uses and risks incurred along the value chain.
Since the framework’s inception in 2010, Solvay has submitted 687 dossiers for registration, with a 100% success rate. Solvay is lead registrant for 262 substances. Based on the knowledge assembled in the context of REACH, Solvay has updated the Global Harmonized System classification of its products.
The third REACH registration phase is now ongoing, with 65% of dossiers accepted so far, and material progress on 84% of the 364 dossiers planned for 2018. The focus is on substances produced or imported in lower quantities. In addition, the Group submitted updated registration dossiers in 2017 as new information became available, or at the request of ECHA.
Solvay continues to pursue ongoing adaptation to emerging new product regulations in many other countries, in particular the adaptation necessary to cope with emerging (REACH-like) regulations in non-EU countries.