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Sustainability: Innovation Through Creative Use of Existing Tools


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Ruth Hull, Senior Scientist, Intrinsik Inc, Mississauga, Ontario, spoke at sustainability, chemical life cycle assessment and the work of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry at the Commission for Environmental Cooperation's Chemicals Management Forum on May 16, 2012 in San Antonio, Texas. More information at:

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Sustainability: Innovation Through Creative Use of Existing Tools

  1. 1. Sustainability: Innovation Through Creative Use ofExisting ToolsRuth HullIntrinsik Environmental Sciences Inc, Toronto, CanadaSETAC (Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry) North AmericaMay 16th, 2012
  2. 2. Sustainability challenges• Sound chemical management is needed at all stages of a product’s life-cycle• Industry is challenged with balancing profit, product effectiveness, environmental responsibilities• Industry understands the importance of having products that are as “green” and “sustainable” as possible (CSR).• How can they evaluate whether they are doing the best “balancing”?2
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  4. 4. Tools to Assess Sustainability• Existing tools can be used to evaluate the environmental component of sustainability, such as hazards and risks – Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals – Ecosystem services evaluation – Life-cycle analysis – Risk assessment• These can be linked to the social and economic components using tools such as decision analysis4
  5. 5. GHS Classification: Foundationof the Safe Use of Chemicals Safe use of Chemicals Risk Management (Risk Communication & Chemical Control) Hazard Communication (Safety Data Sheets & Labelling) GHS Classification5
  6. 6. Ecosystem Services6 Stay tuned: SETAC Workshop on Ecosystem Services, 2013;
  7. 7. Life Cycle Assessment7 SETAC Advisory Groups (LCA);
  8. 8. Risk Assessment8 SETAC Advisory Groups (ERA, HHRA);
  9. 9. Practical Approaches• Methods exist to monitor and assess chemicals in the environment – Go beyond a comparison of concentrations to guidelines – Consider exposures to people, fish, wildlife, etc. (e.g., risk assessment) – Look to the final goal when planning approaches (be flexible, creative, use adaptive management)9
  10. 10. What can you do?• Industry – Think about the life of the product – Use existing tools to evaluate sustainability (e.g., RA, GHS, LCA, ecosystem services, decision analysis) – Incorporate concepts of CSR• Government – Support innovation – Ensure legislation supports innovation10