Product stewardship

The overall aim of our product stewardship activity is to ensure that products are developed, produced and marketed in accordance with legal requirements, in a way which supports our approach to long-term sustainability.

During 2009, we formalized our product stewardship management under a Global Product Stewardship and Regulatory Affairs Council. This council will integrate good practice from across our businesses into a product stewardship framework, ensuring that resources, training and audits are optimized. Focus areas for 2010 will be developing the concept of categories of control, updating risk assessments, further use of lifecycle assessment for new products and a review of animal testing protocols and alternatives.

We continue to dedicate significant resources to meeting legal requirements for all substances and products in countries where we conduct business. In Europe, we are working in Substance Information Exchange Forums (SIEFs) and consortia towards the initial 2010 REACH registrations and the submission of our substance classifications to the European Chemicals Agency. In Asia, we are working towards implementing a range of new notification requirements, in addition to implementing the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) in the US, Japan, Europe and other areas around the world. We regard this as a powerful, though resource intensive, initiative to safeguard the correct use of chemicals across the globe.

We are also increasing our focus on the distribution aspect of product stewardship. There were 52 distribution incidents during 2009 involving the transport of our products by road (44), sea (7) and rail (1) (see also Serious incidents).

We are working with sourcing groups to improve the safety performance of contract distribution companies. Activities include contractual requirements, distribution contractor selection and improved contractor management.

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