HOW TO APPROACH THE CHEMICAL MANAGEMENT
The seminar Dress code: sustainability. The management and control of chemicals for the brands and the supply chain took place on November 27 in Florence. The event was organized under the patronage of CNA and Confindustria Firenze by two leading companies such as Process Factory and Brachi and the 4sustainability network, born one year ago to support the companies in facing the sustainability challenges with method and specialist skills.
Judging by the number of qualifying participants, this practical approach seems to gather widespread approval, especially on a subject like the chemical management on which the academic debates leave the time they are. Brands need useful instructions as well as the companies of the supply chain, that are slowly moving to remain competitive.
«Sustainability, brand reputation and competitiveness are in close relationship with each other», said in his welcome speech the director of sales and marketing at Brachi Giulio Lombardo, who underlined the uniqueness of 4sustainability compared to other players ready to make this matter now so relevant a profitable business. «It is a spontaneous process, as spontaneous is the market’s selection between true and presumed skills. With 4sustainability we aimed to distinguish ourselves from the start, investing on the Brachi knowledge of product and the experience of Process Factory in processes».
Francesca Rulli, the project and sustainability manager of Process Factory, played the no easy task to frame the matter for the benefit of those companies that understood it’s time to move, but they still do not know how, in which direction. « Sustainable, by definition, is all that is made to last, generating social, environmental and, of course, economic value». What brands are doing? «Some of them – Mrs Rulli explained – simply put ultimatums to suppliers: who errs twice pays. The most forward-thinking brands, on the contrary, adopt collaborative strategies, helping the companies to come into compliance. Social audits, environmental audits and the chemical management meet with great attention, but the logic of integrated audits is emerging as well».
For many practical aspects, companies can rely on technology, that recently produced many precious tools and platforms to gather data and manage information, for instance. Thela is one of them – a highly advanced system developed by Cleviria that allows you to track and monitor the entire supply chain.
Primo Brachi, president of Brachi Group and Brachi Testing Services, a leading Italian laboratory in the field of quality control for the fashion and furniture industry, focused his speech on the increasing attention to the dangerousness of consumer products for the environment and the health of the person.
«The assumption of responsibility by many players of the fashion industry brought the adoption of lists of dangerous chemicals», said Primo Brachi. «The restricted subastances lists also take account of the safety regulations in force in the different countries, indicating the method of analysis necessary to determine the amount of each single chemical allowed in the product and/or in the process. As it is impossible for reasons of cost and time to search for all substances included in the RSL, the chemical risk assessment becomes fundamental: in relation to the product (which type of fiber? which type of leather?), the working process, the country of origin (developed countries are usually more careful and therefore less at risk) and the documentation voluntarily provided by the manufacturer/supplier». From a practical point of view, certain rules do not exist because the possibilities are endless. Hence the importance of the experience and the choice to rely on accredited laboratories such as Brachi Testing Services.
Graham Storrie spoke to the audience representing a well-known brand such as Esprit, but also the table Zero Discharge Hazardous Chemicals, of which he briefly traced the path from its establishment in 2011 until today. Working together is the title that best synthesizes his speech – a manifesto of ZDHC, but also an encouragement for companies to work in team. «In terms of sustainability – he said – we have already achieved the important goal of inducing companies to put aside their jealousies and try to change things together, adopting not only a common language, but a common database and a shared platform. The next challenge is to further broaden the audience also involving chemical industries, which are an active part of the whole process».
As a representative of CHT/Bezema Group, one of the most important chemical industries at international level, Andreas Bayer explained that virtuous examble esist even in this sector. «CHT – Mr Bayer said – fully shares the ZDHC philosophy, investing in environmental protection, in attention to the safety of workers and in the proper use of products. We believe, however, in the urgency to adopt integrated strategies, approaching sustainability in terms of resource management and energy saving».