Risk management of chemicals

Sustainable Chemistry


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On 6 November 2018, the OECD was awarded the Silver Award in the research category at the 2018 Global Chemical Leasing Award for the report on the Economic Features of Chemical Leasing. The award ceremony was organised by UNIDO in partnership with the Austrian Federal Ministry of Sustainability and Tourism (BMNT), the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), the German Environment Agency (UBA), the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN).

The report for which we received this award presents a review of the literature on the economic aspects of chemical leasing and of similar business models, focusing on the drivers and barriers and comparing their functioning to traditional contracts. It looks at the contracting conditions under which the model operates, its economic impacts, and the relating challenges that might arise to its use and implementation. Chemical Leasing is a service-orientated business model that intends to shift the focus from increasing the sales volume of chemicals towards an innovative and functional-based approach, leading to a more efficient use of chemicals.

 Economic Features of Chemical Leasing

A Definition of Sustainable Chemistry

"Sustainable chemistry is a scientific concept that seeks to improve the efficiency with which natural resources are used to meet human needs for chemical products and services. Sustainable chemistry encompasses the design, manufacture and use of efficient, effective, safe and more environmentally benign chemical products and processes."

Sustainable chemistry is also a process that stimulates innovation across all sectors to design and discover new chemicals, production processes, and product stewardship practices that will provide increased performance and increased value while meeting the goals of protecting and enhancing human health and the environment.

Benefits of Sustainable Chemistry

The environmental and societal benefits of sustainable chemistry include:
  • Avoiding the use of persistent, bioaccumulative, toxic, and otherwise hazardous materials;
  • Using renewable resources and decreasing consumption of non-renewable resources,
  • Minimising negative environmental impacts of chemical processing and manufacturing;
  • Providing technologies that are economically competitive for and advantageous to industry.

OECD projects underway

The Economic Features
of Chemical Leasing :

Chemical Leasing  is a service-oriented business model that aligns the interests of the chemical supplier with those of the chemical user by compensating the service of the chemical rather than the chemical volume sold and used. This study presents a review of the literature on the economic features of the chemical leasing, focusing on the drivers and barriers and comparing their functioning to traditional contracts.

Better Design of Plastics
and Plastic Products :

A workshop is in preparation in early 2018 on the "Design of Sustainable of Plastics from a Chemicals Perspective". The workshop will focus on the design stage of a plastic product and how chemical selection considerations influence the overall environmental and health impacts from chemicals at various stages of the product manufacture, use and end-of-life.  

OECD Work relating to Sustainable Chemistry 

  • Publications on Sustainable Chemistry:

Role of Government Policy in Supporting the Adoption of Green/Sustainable Chemistry Innovations

Sustainable Chemistry: Evidence on Innovation from Patent Data

Need for Research and Development and Development Programmes in Sustainable Chemistry



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