Implementing Global Chemicals Policy

Our customers and consumers can be certain that our products are safe when used as intended. The properties of individual chemicals must be known alongside other substance information to ensure this safety. Our regulatory experts are laying the groundwork to record this information in collaboration with authorities around the world.

More and more countries are introducing complex chemicals regulations. The first step in this process is the introduction of chemical inventories that list new and existing industrial chemicals manufactured in or imported into a particular country. The most well-known country-specific chemical inventories besides the European Union (EU) include Australia (AICS), China (IECSC), Japan (ENCS), Canada (DSL), Korea (ECL), New Zealand (NZIOC), the Philippines (PICCS), Switzerland (SWISS), Taiwan (TCSI), Thailand (TECI), Turkey (KKDIK), USA (TSCA) and Vietnam (VNECI).

In Europe, EU chemicals legislation has undergone fundamental reform with the introduction of the REACH regulation. The purpose of this regulation is to determine substance properties and consequently record (register), evaluate, authorize and restrict chemicals. 

The European Parliament adopted the “Regulation on the classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures” ‏(CLP regulation) on September 3, 2008. After a two-stage introductory phase for chemical substances (June 1, 2010) and mixtures (June 1, 2015), all chemical products on the market must now be classified and labelled according to the new system. This replaced former EU legislation on hazard classification, labeling, and the safe packaging of chemicals with a system developed under the auspices of the United Nations (“Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals”: GHS). GHS was one outcome of the UN Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and Johannesburg in 2002. It aims to harmonize regulations worldwide for greater safety in the global trade and handling of chemicals and chemical products.

The European Union (EU) was the first major economic area after New Zealand and Japan to systematically transfer GHS into its own legislation. Almost all significant economic nations have since followed suit, e.g. the USA, Canada, China, Korea, Brazil, etc. As a globally active company, Henkel welcomes this development. Henkel experts have supported the development and implementation of GHS from the outset. In particular, Henkel successfully championed the practical application of the new labeling requirements for consumer detergent and cleaning products.

Based on the objectives of the United Nations, the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA) took the initiative and launched the “Global Product Strategy” ‏(GPS). The GPS initiative aims to improve and harmonize the level of product responsibility in the global chemical industry. It is primarily intended for regions and nations that have minimal to zero standards for the safe handling of chemicals. As a result, it should minimize the major differences between developing, emerging and developed countries so as to create both greater security and fair competition at the global level. For chemical companies in the EU, implementing REACH, GHS and GPS is closely interlinked. It is important to note that the GPS requirements also apply to substances manufactured and marketed outside the EU.

As a responsible and global company, Henkel also supports the goals of the Global Product Strategy.