‘Safe and Sustainable by Design’ framework encourages innovation to replace hazardous substances in products and processes.
The European Commission has adopted a proposed framework promoting research and innovation for safer and more sustainable chemicals and materials. The Commission describes the adoption as ‘an important step to increase protection of human health and the environment against hazardous substances and improve the circularity of chemicals and materials.’
The adopted proposal sets out a testing period, which the Commission hopes will engage industry, academia, the research community and support from Member States. The proposal also includes a ‘voluntary reporting mechanism.’ The Commission has also published a Strategic Research and Innovation Plan (SRIP), which highlights research and innovation areas needed for the transition for safe and sustainable chemicals and guides research and innovation funders in their decisions on investment across EU, national, and private funding programmes. The Horizon Europe work programme 2023-2024 will also address strategic research and innovation identified in the SRIP.
The Commission said that the so-called ‘Safe and Sustainable by Design’ framework encourages innovation to replace hazardous substances in products and processes. As well as developing new chemicals and materials, the framework promotes optimisation or the redesign of production processes and the improvement of safety and sustainability of substances currently on the market.
Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth said: ‘We need to make sure that chemicals are produced and used safely. Putting these recommendations into practice will ensure Europe leads the way and sets the standards for safer and more sustainable substances, globally.’
Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth Image © European Union, 2022
The Commission added that it invited Member States, industry, academia, research and technology organisations to use the recommendations in their research and innovation activities to create more sustainable substance, and thus increase their share of the EU and global markets.