Policy and Basic Approach
World Trends in Product Stewardship
The keys to realizing the WSSD’s*1 2020 goal of “aiming to achieve, by 2020, usage and production of chemicals in ways that lead to the minimization of significant adverse effects on human health and the environment,” are corporations’ voluntary risk assessment and risk management throughout the supply chain by communicating safety use information. The EU REACH regulation*2 legally mandate such communication and the results are utilized for the assessment and risk management concerning hazardous chemical substances over the entire European Union. Also, in Japan (the Act on the Evaluation of Chemical Substances and Regulation of Their Manufacture, etc.) and the US (TSCA*3), risk assessment and risk management measures based on the assessments undertaken by corporations contribute greatly to national-level risk management. As many other countries adopt similar regulatory methods, the importance of risk assessment by corporations and risk management throughout the supply chain based on such assessment is increasing.
One of the international approaches to achieve the WSSD 2020 goal is SAICM*4 from UN Environment. The International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA) launched the Global Product Strategy (GPS)*5 and Responsible Care Global Charter to contribute to the sound chemical management at which the SAICM aims. Under the policies of the ICCA, the chemical industry associations and chemical corporations in various countries are now striving to achieve the WSSD 2020 goal.
The World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) held in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2002. During the Summit, the WSSD goal of achieving, by 2020, the use and production of chemicals in ways that lead to the minimization of significant adverse effects on human health and the environment, using transparent science-based risk assessment procedures and science-based risk management procedures was adopted.
Regulations relating to the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization, and Restriction of Chemical substances.
Toxic Substances Control Act
*4SAICM (Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management)：
A strategic approach to international chemicals management. Established to promote advances in a number of areas to achieve the WSSD goals, such as risk reduction based on scientific risk assessment, preventive approaches, the collection and provision of information on hazardous chemical substances, improvements in each country’s chemical substance management system, and the promotion of technical cooperation in developing countries.
*5Global Product Strategy (GPS)：
In order to minimize the risk from chemicals throughout the supply chain, each company conducts risk assessments on its chemical products. In addition to implementing appropriate risk-based management, they engage in voluntary efforts to disclose to society in general, including customers, information on product safety and risk. GPS is thus designed to strengthen product stewardship.
Product Stewardship by the Mitsui Chemicals Group
As a chemicals corporation operating globally, Mitsui Chemicals extends its scope of chemical management beyond thorough compliance with the regulatory requirements in each country in order to minimize the environmental impact from chemical substances and ensure human safety over the entire product lifecycle, from product development to disposal. Cooperation with stakeholders within the supply chain is indispensable to achieve this. We gather chemical information from upstream companies in the supply chain, assess risks involved in our products, and closely communicate with the downstream companies about product risks and handling.
Each Mitsui Chemicals’ employee is responsible for supporting our product stewardship. We provide them with training programs to acquire knowledge to comply with the law and handle products correctly, and spread the knowledge across the supply chain in order to establish a corporate culture that protects human health and the environment.
The Mitsui Chemicals Group maintains a Responsible Care Policy that focuses on assessing the risks on people and the environment of its products throughout their entire lifecycles as well as ensuring the health and safety of all persons and reducing the environmental impact of those products. Guided by its Responsible Care Policy, the Group has also put in place internal rules regarding environment & safety and quality management. These regulations help the Group grasp the latest trends in and traverse the increasingly stringent regulations of each country and provide a roadmap for conducting collection and verification of information of chemicals in products , conveying safety use information to stakeholders including customers, ensuring the health of consumers, customers, and employees, and reducing its environmental impact.
*Visit here for Blue Value™ that visualizes the environmental impact reduction from the product stewardship viewpoint in each product life stage.
Product Stewardship Goals
The Mitsui Chemicals Group has established goals for around 2020 as our medium-term Product Stewardship goals.
Goals for Mitsui Chemicals Group Product Stewardship for around 2020
The Mitsui Chemicals Group will continue to ensure that it complies with all statutory and regulatory requirements in an exhaustive and comprehensive manner. Measures will be put in place to prevent any violation with respect to the Group’s manufacturing and shipping activities.
Mitsui Chemicals’ safety evaluations with garner the confidence of society; as an integral element in the value chain, the Company will work toward sustainable development and provide increasingly safe products.
System and Responsible Officers
The Mitsui Chemicals Group product stewardship is positioned as a part of Responsible Care. The Responsible Care Committee determines company-wide policies, strategy, and measures as the Product Stewardship Strategy. The results of Product Stewardship are reported by the General Manager of the RC & Quality Assurance Division and reviewed by the Responsible Care Committee. The findings of the Committee are then reflected in plans for the next fiscal year after taking into consideration changes in the environment, including the concerns and requirements of society as well as the latest trends in government policy and regulations as they relate to chemical substances.
The General Managers of each business division undertake chemical safety management for the entire business for which they are responsible. General Managers of works undertake chemical safety management from material procurement to shipment within their works. General Managers of laboratories undertake chemical safety management in product and market development. Examples of action items are as follows. The General Manager of the RC & Quality Assurance Division must provide support for these items.
- Identification with traceability of substances contained in materials and products
- Product risk assessment
- Legal compliance and industrial standard compliance
- Creation of product Safety Data Sheet (SDS) and product labels
- Provision of information to customers
If product specifications need to be changed after market release, such as changes in materials, production methods, facilities, and product use, take any preliminary actions necessary, such as management of chemical substances in products, collection and verification of information of chemicals in products, product risk assessment, and legal compliance. Then confirm that there are no problems concerning product changes. Take the same action for product specifications when a new regulation has been introduced or a new discovery is made.
This process is inspected by internal audits by General Managers of business divisions or works, and through a chemical safety audit by the RC & Quality Assurance Division General Manager. The audit results are reflected in the Product Stewardship Strategy for the following fiscal year. Affiliate companies conduct chemical safety management independently with support from the supervising division. The RC & Quality Assurance Division regularly audits the chemical management structure and operations in each affiliate company.
Product Stewardship Accountability Structure
The RC & Quality Assurance Division takes both exhaustive and comprehensive steps to ensure that it fully grasps the annual submission requirements prescribed under Japan’s Act on the Evaluation of Chemical Substances and Regulation of Their Manufacture, etc. as well as the new application and submission requirements associated with efforts to reinforce the European REACH regulation and other regulations. Thereafter, the Division analyzes the Group-wide impact of each requirement and puts in place a Group-wide plan to ensure that requirements are met. In order to advise the rest of the organization and to provide support for handling these requirements, meetings are held to provide officers in charge of Responsible Care with the appropriate information. Among a host of endeavors, the Division makes full use of the gate check function of the chemical product safety information system (MiCSIS: Mitsui Chemicals Safety Information System). This helps in preventing the termination of export activities when the necessary registration requirements of each country have not been completed, and avoiding the manufacture of products in excess of approved limits.
A risk assessment that takes into consideration the impact on human health and the environment is undertaken for new products up to their market release and in accordance with any change in management after each product launch. In the event that the necessary low level of risk cannot be confirmed, a product safety meeting is held chaired either by the responsible director in charge of the RC & Quality Assurance Division or the General Manager of the RC & Quality Assurance Division. The goal of the meeting to decision whether or not a product will be released and if so under what terms and conditions.
Goals and Results
|Number of legal and regulatory violations||Mitsui Chemicals, Inc.||0||0||◯||0||─|
|Product risk assessment implementation rate||Mitsui Chemicals, Inc.||Complete assessment of low-priority products||Complete assessment of all products*1||◯||Set up new medium to long-term goals||─|
|Provision ratio of the latest safety information for all products*2||Mitsui Chemicals, Inc.||100%||100%||◯||100%||100%
*1The target year was set to 2020 to align with the WSSD 2020 goal, but the goals have already been achieved.
*2Most recent SDS submission rate.
Review and Challenges
We did not violate any regulations and provided all the latest safety use information in fiscal 2018. The product risk assessment that we planned to complete by 2020 has already been completed—two years prior to the deadline. With international chemical management directions in view, we plan to create a medium- to long-term plan for 2025 within fiscal 2019.