GLOBAL CONTEXT
INTRODUCTION

Chemical Leasing can be used as a modern policy instrument for the sustainable management of chemicals. The business model fits into a wide menu of international and national initiatives and obligations and can help policy- and decision-makers bring fresh momen-tum to chemical management and sustainable production.

Introduction

Chemical Leasing can be used as a modern policy instrument for the sustainable management of chemicals. The business model fits into a wide menu of international and national initiatives and obligations and can help policy- and decision-makers bring fresh momentum to chemical management and sustainable production.

Chemical Leasing has a wide range of applications. It can help companies meet the targets of public sector programmes, as well as respond to mechanisms and initiatives for the responsible management of chemicals. It can be applied to local projects as well as to regional initiatives such as those related to the EU Regulation REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals).

With its potential for reducing costs, waste and worker exposure, Chemical Leasing is fully in line with the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) and is aligned with initiatives such as Resource-Efficiency and Cleaner Production, Green Industry, Sustainable Chemistry and Responsible Care. Chemical Leasing also shares the goals of the global chemical conventions such as the Stockholm, Basel and Rotterdam conventions.

It is also evident that there is a close connection of Chemical Leasing to the Circular Economy approach. Implementing Chemical Leasing strengthens the cooperation of different actors along the supply chain, thus fostering exchange of know-how, life cycle data, and zero-waste thinking. Chemical Leasing encourages the reuse and recycling of chemicals and the installation of closed loop systems.

From a business perspective, Chemical Leasing fully fits in with voluntary sustainability reporting tools and management systems. Chemical Leasing can help companies meet legal requirements relating to, for example, substance control, environmental permits, and occupational health and safety requirements. Applying Chemical Leasing can be a way of limiting the use of harmful chemicals to specific trained and knowledgeable operators who can be monitored closely.

Below, is an overview of binding and non-binding agreements and conventions and their linkages with Chemical Leasing:

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Companies are operating in a rapidly changing business environment. The framework in which they operate is much more undetermined than it was in the past. So, companies need the capacities to find new ways to be more flexible and resilient to change while continuing to be profitable. None of this is new. But in the changing global context, they now have a greater urgency.On the environmental side, ever greater efforts are being made to mitigate climate change and to reduce its scale. Forecasted increases in demand for resources are dramatic, while the availability of resources is increasingly restricted. More efforts, more energy, will be needed to obtain resources, which in turn affects the environment and impacts the climate situation. The costs of resources are increasing, and access to them is being disrupted much more than in the past. Environmental regulations will certainly be ramped up.
[…] We have a massive amount of technological and political changes coming. A number of global crises are becoming ever more visible and the policy responses to them are imminent. It is becoming much more difficult to forecast how things will evolve. We are faced with a multi-branched, multi-faceted shaking-up of the existing conditions, and each business will have to find ways to adapt. All this will come about relatively rapidly. Some companies will manage to respond to the challenges, others will not. The risks of the latter outcome are high.
Chemical Leasing is an efficient tool that helps businesses to go hand in hand with global sustainability initiatives. It facilitates achieving goals of the international agenda.

Stephan Sicars
Managing Director, Directorate of Environment and Energy (EAE),
Director Department of Environment

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