The project “Chemicals Risk Management and Assessment of Alternatives: Tools and best practices to support circularity, create more sustainable products and avoid regrettable substitution — LIFE FitforREACH-2” (FFR-2) supports small and medium-size enterprises (SME) in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania & Poland in their chemicals risk management practices. A consistent chemicals risk management system is provided based on approaches and tools elaborated in the predecessor project LIFE FitforREACH-1 (2015-2020) in the form of a handbook and digital guidance. The project builds capacity for implementing the chemicals risk management system or elements thereof at downstream-user companies.

The goal and core idea of the FFR-2 is that Baltic companies implement (elements of) chemicals risk management systems, make them part of their standard practices, and thereby reduce the use and emissions of, and the exposures to hazardous substances. A continuous improvement process should be installed in the companies and, where possible substitution cases be implemented to exemplify practical risk reduction. After the project end, companies should operate their systems without further help.

The work will be based on comprehensive handbooks, specific chemicals risk management tools, trainings and information materials, as well as specific and practical consultation.  

The main targeted group of the FFR-2 are formulators of mixtures and end-users of substances and mixtures, including service providers. Based on an assessment of the status quo in the companies participating in the FFR-2 improvement options in the chemicals risk management are identified together. While any aspect of chemicals risk management could be worked on, substitution of substances of (very) high concern are a focus of the project. A thorough alternatives assessment supports information-based decision making on substitution in the companies and can prevent the selection of similarly hazardous alternatives (regrettable substitution. Examples of work items include purchasing routines, workers protection, chemicals inventories, compliance monitoring, communication in the supply chain and overall chemicals literacy.

In cooperation with the further target group of companies in the waste sector options to identify hazardous substances in wastes will be explored, and how this information could change sorting and treatment practices resulting in cleaner secondary materials and new customer markets.

In contrast to the former project, activities in the FFR-2 are also implemented in Poland, where less companies have been trained on chemicals risk management in the past. Further replication will happen in other Central and Eastern European Countries such as Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic or Serbia.  

The FFR-2 also aims to increase the relevance of chemicals in environmental management systems by making “toxic impacts and action needs” more explicit in environmental management system standards. This would significantly raise awareness of the companies’ on chemicals