How MSDS Data Supports Sustainability: Lecture at Sustainability Fair Connects Dots

Actio Corporation presented at the 3rd Annual Sustainability Fair north of Boston in historic Portsmouth, New Hampshire earlier this summer with the topic:  What is a Material Safety Data Sheet or MSDS and how does it fit into Sustainability?  Can MSDS software make a difference?

PORTSMOUTH, NH September 12, 2010 – Actio Corporation, the global provider of software for raw materials information management and environmental regulatory compliance, was pleased to be a feature presenter at this year’s Portsmouth Sustainability Fair, Speaker Series.  The Speaker Series was the first event at the Sustainability Fair, starting at 6:00 PM on Monday, April 19, 2010.  Actio’s Director of Communications led the presentation.

Lecture at Sustainability Fair Connects MSDS with CSR

CSR means Corporate Social Responsibility - it means companies having a conscience about their actions and the effects of those actions on the world at large.  An MSDS is a Material Safety Data Sheet, which is exactly what it sounds like: a data sheet on material safety.  If you have a can of paint, how do you know if the contents are flammable, toxic if swallowed, or dangerous if in contact with skin?  Or if the fumes can be dangerous?  Or what chemicals are in the paint that should not be swallowed or are otherwise flagged for safety by regulatory agencies?

MSDS data is a foundational component of a green product supply chain, according to recent writings from the major business analyst firms.  Knowing what chemicals make up the ingredients of a product is already part of stringent environmental law in Europe, and will become so in the U.S.  A major research firms have stated that product supply chain visibility is key to using environmental compliance as differentiator.

How MSDS Data Supports Sustainability

“Management of EH&S data is a key component of managing a product’s supply network,” said Russell McCann, President and CEO of Actio.  “A software tool for MSDS management and distribution – such as MSDS Vault – tracks, consolidates, and measures substance-level data to get companies started on the path toward sustainability.”

McCann went on to explain that MSDS data is a cornerstone for achieving compliance with
•    international, federal, state and local regulations,
•    internal sustainability goals around chemicals of concern in the workplace, and
•    public requirements.

Actio’s Director of Corporate Communications, K.M. Hurley, manages a blog on environmental regulatory compliance.  In the presentation at the Sustainability Fair, Hurley said, “By managing MSDS data in a rational manner, manufacturers are able to meet health, safety and environmental requirements.”

Hurley went on to demonstrate an MSDS and how knowledge of dangerous ingredients in products can make for a more sustainable workplace.  The example used was a simple air freshener in public office space.  Many air fresheners contain a cocktail of chemicals that are dangerous indoors, e.g., in public restrooms. 

“An MSDS contains key information about that product,” said Hurley. “If you keep a fresh database of detailed substance-level information on the chemicals in your products – whether you make them or have them onsite – you can roll up that data and view your Sustainability footprint across a department, location, or enterprise.”

All Actio solutions, says the Actio company web site, help companies toward Corporate Social Responsibility through innovative, collaborative, rational chemical handling, managing supply chain substance data, and streamlining material disclosure processes towards Six Sigma initiatives, mitigating risk and attaining corporate sustainability objectives.
Kathleen Hurleymsds, sustainability