Chemicals are found in many of the products and processes that we encounter in our daily lives. In line with sustainable development principles, chemicals can help us to make more efficient and sparing use of resources and energy. However, many of their applications are still harmful to human health and the environment, even though less hazardous substitutes or alternative processes are now available in many instances. The purpose of sustainable chemicals management is to ensure that no risk is posed by the manufacture, use and disposal of chemical products. Chemicals should be manufactured and used in ways that conserve materials and resources and are equitable and eco-friendly.
The Oeko-Institut conducts research on the safe use of chemicals at multiple levels. At both national and EU level, its researchers work on chemicals legislation and look at possible substitutes for problematic substances – in the light of the REACH Regulation, the RoHS Directive and the ELV Directive on end-of-life vehicles. They assist companies to comply with the information requirements under the REACH Regulation and share their knowledge with practitioners, e.g. by producing guides to sustainable chemicals.