Launched back in 2006, the Global Product Strategy (GPS) is a voluntary initiative developed by the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA). It aims to improve the safe management of chemicals, harmonize approaches between developing, emerging and industrialized regions, and strengthen public confidence that products are handled safely at all stages of the life cycle. Although based on voluntary initiative, the contribution is mandatory for chemical companies who are ICCA members. All national associations are members of ICCA and in that sense they are obliged to follow any voluntary commitment that ICCA makes globally.
What are the benefits for industry?
Filling up the GPS, companies will contribute to a level playing field of the global conditions of competition, and to a better access to relevant product safety information for co-producers, governments and the public. The GPS Safety Summary will improve transparency by helping companies provide stakeholders with information about marketed chemicals in an easily understandable format, providing easy-to-understand information on general risk characterization and risk management for chemicals, and providing access to information in a suitable format to co-producers and customers to increase public confidence. The resulting global harmonization of chemicals management systems will eventually help to reduce trade barriers.
How all these results can be achieved?
Through this initiative, companies will contribute in defining a “base set of information” for chemicals in commerce and to the sharing of relevant information for safety assessment. They will promote a tiered process for evaluating risk and identifying appropriate risk management actions for chemicals in commerce, extending the guidance for safety assessment (e.g. ICCA Product Stewardship Guidelines) on a global scale. Companies will help define safe use conditions for chemicals and improve product stewardship cooperation with downstream customers of the chemical industry, enhancing dialogue among customers, the public and other stakeholders.
For European companies and associations, chemical management activities under Global Product Strategy are driven by the REACH legislation and timelines that came into force in June 2007. A complete REACH dossier virtually fulfills GPS obligations, which means that the chemical assessment is following REACH priorities and enabling preparation of GPS Safety Summaries using information in the registration dossiers. National associations have made implementation plans on how they will fulfil that commitment, and they work towards a result where all registered substances also have a safety summary.
Do you need help to complete the GPS safety summary?
ReachCentrum is offering a service for compiling the GPS Safety Summaries for companies, consortia and other interested parties, in order to help companies actively communicate relevant information across the value chain of products including customers, suppliers, carriers as well as the public.
Companies need then to publish GPS Safety Summary both on their websites and on the new ICCA GPS IT Portal, a public database which went online in October 2011, and that includes easy-to-search format general overviews and in-depth safety and health information on chemical substances. To date more than 1,200 chemical safety summaries are available and the number of substances covered is increasing daily.
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