Sustainability Hotspot Scan gives SMEs in the chemical sector insight into sustainability opportunities and risks

29 Jun 2017

Sustainability is becoming an increasingly important driver for SMEs within the chemical sector. But where do the opportunities lie? And what are the risks? Together with the Dutch CSR organisation (MVO Nederland), a group of SMEs and the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), TNO has developed the Sustainability Hotspot Scan for SMEs.

The Sustainability Hotspot Scan is free of charge and has been developed specifically for products in the chemical industry like synthetics, plastics, medicines, cosmetics, detergents and paints. The scan helps companies make smart choices in sustainable product development. Companies can also include their existing products in the scan and be able to see at a glance where work still needs to be done in the chain to comply with the international OESO guidelines on fair trading.

International circumstances

The scan makes use of widely endorsed and global datasets. Environmental impact and safety risks are part of the scan as are the less tangible aspects like international working conditions, human rights and corruption. It is easy to fill in the scan. “If your Safety Data Sheets are in order and you check with your suppliers on the origin of their products and raw materials, you can have the scan finished in half a day,” says Elise Boukris of TNO. “The scan ultimately positions the product against the global average in terms of six themes. While the outcome is not a ‘label for approval’, it does provide a direct indication of the choices that have to be investigated immediately as well as a measurable basis for a serious discussion on sustainability.”

Sustainability goal for chemical SMEs

The development of a sustainability scan specifically for SMEs is an initial step in the roadmap drawn up by TNO for MVO Nederland. This roadmap should ultimately result in more collaboration among chain partners and greater transparency and sustainability between leading SMEs in their international CSR (I-CSR) chemical network. The roadmap contains a number of routes aimed at achieving the goals.


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