Top 20 best practices in material disclosure

Wondering about best practices in material disclosure for businesses?

Best practices in material disclosure 
When public interest and regulatory agents come knocking, how do manufactures find out what’s coming up through their supply chains? And how can they manage the detailed product information, while safeguarding their secrets and sharing relevant intelligence?  Well, there's product stewardship software.  Beyond that -- maybe even before that -- there are best practices that pave the way for a sensible program of ingredient discovery.

There are three categories in best practices for managing material disclosure:
  1. Supplier communication
  2. Data monitoring
  3. Regulatory tricks & tips
We broke out the categories in more detail:
Supplier communication
1. visibility into product, part, and chemical-substance data is the key
2. clear, regular communication with suppliers gets results
3. automating communication with suppliers is best, so nothing slips through the cracks
4. working closely with suppliers accelerates the development of greener materials
5. communicating with customers is a sophisticated challenge and requires tools
6. big picture vision statement must be constantly reiterated, internally and to the supply network
7. setting team and individual goals creates shared commitment 
8. training suppliers helps clarify requirements and motivate them towards data collection
9. collecting supplier data can inform future supplier and material selection, as long as data is tracked and stored in a sensible way

Data monitoring
10. constant, updated visibility into as many details as possible is essential
11. leveraging existing data in the ERP, PLM, and Procurement systems, is critical
12. providing easy-to-use web-based portal for chemical data entry facilitates data collection
13. bill-of-material (BOM) multi-level simulators allow manufacturers to see cheaper, greener, more compliant component and chemical alternatives

Regulatory tricks and tips
14. benefits found in pursuing and supporting government Green & Safety efforts
15. providing easy-to-use web-based portal with up-to-data regulatory lists facilitates compliance
16. collecting data on chemicals-of-emerging-concern is as important as collecting data on known toxics
17. regulatory tracking software becomes paramount as modern Product Development suffers under a patchwork of global chemical regulatory systems
18. hazard data on mixtures can be hard to find – need a trusted source of this
19. verification of supplier compliance is critical for an audit trail

20.  share what you've learned with others -- this helps everyone in the long run.  It's why you see companies like Nike, Johnson & Johnson and Google talk about their progress, share their findings, and participate in round tables and committees for a greener product supply chain.

Resources

There are, in fact, some really robust solutions for material disclosure management.  These are software solutions, usually cloud or SaaS, that are built around these best practices. They cost money but in the larger scheme of things don't really cost much, and in some cases save money overall.

A list of good, well-researched solutions can be found here, on the Green Chemistry & Commerce web site.

Notes

These best practices are culled from a nicely-edited article in Chem.Info magazine on material disclosure best practices. Here they are reprinted with permission. [Chem.Info eMagazine is here, takes a little while to load but see page 8 if you can wait.]  Fact is, we encounter questions about best practices all the time. As a result we've produced multiple webinars to address the issue, published many articles, and we take the subject to major global conferences on stewardship and raw material management.

For more information, just Google "material disclosure." Explore a few links on your own, sign up for any brochures that seem to resonate.  Good luck.  

Kathleen Hurley