Definition

Product stewardship means managing risks throughout the product’s entire life cycle, from the design stage to the end-of-life. Risks include the possibility of injury or health impact to third parties or damage to their property arising from Solvay products being used inappropriately in a customer's plant or used in an application for which the products are not designed. Risk management is particularly key for products used in healthcare, food, and feed applications. Progress on hazardous materials handled in Solvay's operations and those put on the market is reported via the number of safety data sheets and of REACH dossiers.

Management approach

Solvay’s product safety policy requires the Group to:

  • Maintain a comprehensive understanding of each product’s hazards, risks and impacts related to all life-cycle steps and intended applications;
  • Manage product knowledge so as to comply with local requirements on product information while ensuring worldwide consistency;
  • Keep records of all necessary and required product safety information to ensure availability throughout the full life-cycle, beyond the commercialization period;
  • Send standardized product safety data sheets to customers along with the first delivery. This key information is consistently maintained and distributed worldwide for all products to all customers in different languages.

As for materials handled in operations and those put on the market, Solvay focuses on substances of concern and maintains a policy of generating and maintaining safety dossiers on all substances. This extensive approach is reflected in the registration of the REACH dossiers, and by the large portfolio of the safety data sheets. This extensive knowledge allows the Group to characterize and manage risk related to product handling and to prioritize mitigation actions related to potential inappropriate use.

Indicators

Safety data sheets

320,000

2018 Safety data sheets authoring and distribution
(not including Composite Materials)

Solvay currently places over 18,000 products1 on the market. All hazardous substances have an updated safety data sheet. Stewardship programs are thus able to give adequate information and technical assistance to customers, ensuring a good understanding of products and how to safely use and handle them. Global Business Units ensure that Safety data sheets are revised at least every three years or every time they undergo significant modification. Reflecting the good product knowledge and efficient product data management system, they are available for all the products. Solvay manages product information centrally. As legislation continues to evolve, the Group makes a particular effort to learn more about the conditions under which products are used so as to record and assess any associated risks.

REACH dossiers

REACH is an advanced European framework regulation requiring companies to have detailed knowledge of substances, their hazards and risks during use. This knowledge must be collected and organized into reliable and systematic safety information that includes all uses and risks incurred along the value chain.

REACH dossiers

REACH dossiers established for third tonnage band

 

403

REACH dossiers established for all tonnage bands (2010-2018)

 

854

Solvay fully complies with the extensive REACH requirements for product registrations. Between the framework’s inception in 2010 and May 2018, Solvay submitted 854 dossiers for registration, with a 100% success rate. Solvay is the lead or sole registrant for 257 substances. Based on the knowledge it has assembled on products and associated risks in the context of REACH, Solvay has updated the classification of all products based on the new Global Harmonized System. In addition, the Group submitted updated registration dossiers in 2018 either as new information became available or at the request of European Chemical Agency (ECHA). On the basis of this robust knowledge, Solvay continues to adapt to emerging new product regulations in many countries, notably to cope with emerging (REACH-like) regulations in non-European countries. For example, Solvay registered 13 dossiers for Korean-REACH in 2018.

1 Without Composite Materials Global Business Unit - go live for inclusion in SAP planned for 2019.

2018 Key achievements

All toxicology data in a single, easily searchable database

Access to extensive toxicological information is crucial for Group tox experts to assess products, interact with authorities, and get authorization dossiers ready. The corporate Product Safety team has now consolidated all toxicology and ecotoxicology reports into a single, easily searchable database, thus ensuring that this valuable information will be maintained and kept safe, while also providing exhaustive access to the (eco-)toxicological data on Solvay substances, and products. The information (20,000+ study reports) was previously “scattered” in different databases. It is now directly accessible to the experts throughout the Group, allowing them to address product safety questions world-wide, ensuring consistency and avoiding duplication, irrespective of the business unit or regulation in question.