12th Helsinki Chemicals Forum

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The event was postponed due to concerns over COVID-19; it was originally scheduled to take place in June 2020. It will take place online in 2021


Think tank dedicated to inclusive, transparent and independent debate on the key issues of safe chemicals management, you wil l find the program below


Opportunity for all professionals to exchange on fundamental questions of safe chemicals handling, not necessarily leading to immediate action or implementation but creating a better holistic understanding of chemicals management and its consequences. A multi-stakeholder think tank for businesses, regulators, NGOs and others with a space to think about the bigger picture and go home with a clearer understanding of how to position their organisations.


Helsinki Chemicals Forum is an independent forum aimed at promoting chemicals safety management globally. Every year HCF is gathering about 200 professionals from 40 countries to share the latest findings and join the discussions around the conference topics.

Messukeskus Helsinki will host the conference simultaneously with ChemBio Finland, the trade fair for the chemistry and biotechnology professionals in the Nordic Countries and Baltic regions, and with PulPaper, the leading international event in chemistry, process industry and wood processing industries. The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) also plans its own annual Conference in the same week.

 

The event consists of five panel discussions and keynote speeches:

  • green chemical policy
    How can the future chemicals policy in the EU create the necessary framework to achieve carbon neutrality, promote the circular economy and contribute to the ambitions for zero pollution? What will be the role of the EU chemicals policy under “the Green Deal”, and how do other world regions achieve these objectives simultaneously?
    The European Commission will moderate this panel.
  • safer substitution
    Although there is increasing awareness of the need for safer and sustainable substitution, a panel of stakeholders including regulators, and representatives of industry and civil society will discuss what could help to increase the pace towards the implementation of safer alternatives under the lead of the OECD. The shift towards safer substitution could be incentivized more effectively by various means, such as the support of research and development, regulatory and financial incentives, and increasing education and awareness of needs.
  • United Nations agreement for the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM), a policy framework to promote chemical safety around the world.
    This panel will feature a discussion of targets and indicators, to encourage countries to improve their chemicals legislation and implementation. This topic also gives an opportunity to reflect on custodians and timeframes, as opposed to the current state of affairs where there are no time-bounded indicators.
    UNEP will animate this panel.
  • transparency and risk communication
    The traceability of chemicals of concern is an important element in creating market trust while complying with existing legal requirements. NGOs argue that traceability of all chemicals in materials, products, and waste should become mandatory by 2030, which would be a difficult task. The panel discusses the current best practices for tracking chemicals to inform decisions relating to risk management measures, prevention of exposure and instructions for safe and sustainable recycling. Risk communication and transparency are topics that matter not only to regulators but are also an intrinsic part of supply chain communication, all the way to end consumers.
    ECHA will moderate this panel.
  • textiles
    The panel will look at the progress on chemicals management within one specific industrial sector. In the textile and apparel industry, there have been formidable challenges and exciting progress with innovative initiatives to achieve real improvements in the way textiles are manufactured, distributed, sold, used and managed at the end of their lifespan. This panel will bring together stakeholders across the supply chain to debate what has been achieved and the persistent barriers and useful incentives for further progress.
    A Chemical Watch journalist will moderate this panel.

Program

  • Tuesday 27 April 2021

(Timing below is EET)
13:00-14:00 Opening Ceremony (prerecorded)

Keynote, Opening speech: Frans Timmermans, The First Vice-President of the European Commission, How the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability fits in the EU Green Deal, tbc
Keynote: Jan Vapaavuori, Lord mayor of Helsinki, Helsinki – carbon neutral by 2035
Keynote: Bjorn Hansen, Executive Director, ECHA, Are REACH and CLP working?

14:00-15:30 Panel 1 – Forthcoming ICCM 5: Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste Beyond 2020
Concept:

The second Global Chemicals Outlook (GCO-II) concluded that the global goal to minimize adverse impacts of chemicals and waste will not be achieved by 2020. What needs to be agreed at ICCM-5 to address shortcomings identified in the GCO-II? What targets and types of indicators should be agreed for measurable action by the all involved stakeholders to track progress both nationally and globally? What role can regions with advanced chemicals management systems, such as the European Union, play in assisting less developed countries to achieve a high protection standard by 2030?

Moderator:
Monika MacDevette, Head to the Chemicals and Health Branch, UNEP

Panelists:
• Servet Gören, Director International Affairs CEFIC and industry representative at SAICM bureau of ICCA
• Alexandra Caterbow, Co-director, HEJ!Support
• Per Ängquist, General Director, KemI, Sweden
• Judith Torres, International environmental affairs officer, Ministry of housing, planning and environment, Uruguay and co-chair SAICM-5
• Jing Zhao, SCC agency, Ministry of Ecology and Environment, China

15:30-15:40 COFFEE BREAK

15:40-17:00 PANEL 2 – Green chemical policy
Concept:

With the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability adopted in October 2020 the European Commission launched its version of a green chemical policy for the future. Which regulatory tools should be chosen to protect citizens, workers and the environment from the effects of harmful chemicals? What is the role of bans of hazardous chemicals versus measures based on specific risk assessments? How can we speed up the protection against the most hazardous chemicals without losing consideration of science and risks? What role should the concept of allowing certain chemicals only for essential uses play? What will be the effects on international trade? What will be the role of the new chemicals strategy under “the EU Green Deal”, and how do other world regions achieve green objectives that include circular economy and climate neutrality simultaneously?

Moderator:
Otto Linher, Deputy Head of the REACH Unit, DG Growth, EU-Commission

Panelists:
• Steven van de Broeck, CEFIC Director Chemicals Policy
• Tala Henry, Deputy Director, Office of Pollution Prevention & Toxics, EPA
• Tatiana Santos, Policy Manager, Chemicals & Nanotechnology, EEB
• Henrik Larsen, Head of the Chemicals Department, Danish Ministry of Environment and Food

17:00-17:10 COFFEE BREAK
17:10-18:00 How ambitious is the new EU Chemicals Strategy

Moderator:
Irene Van Luijken, Director Communications, CEFIC

Panelists:
• Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the European Commission, tbc
• Martin Brudermüller, CEO of BASF and CEFIC President
• Jeremy Wates, Secretary General of EEB


END of first day

  • Friday 28 April 2021

13:00-14:30 PANEL 3 – Transparency & risk communication
Concept:

Traceability of chemicals of concern is an important element in creating market trust while complying with existing legal requirements. What are the challenges in communicating on potential risks of chemicals in products? What are the current best practices in place for tracking chemicals to inform decisions relating to risk management measures, prevention of exposure and instructions for safe and sustainable recycling? Risk communication and transparency are topics which are important not only to regulators but also an intrinsic part of supply chain communication all the way to the end consumer. NGO’s argue that traceability of (all) chemicals in materials, products and waste must become mandatory by 2030. Is this a realistic ambition? How can we ensure that the right information reaches the right audience in the era of social media?

Moderator:
Jukka Malm, Deputy Director General, ECHA

Panelists:
• Apolline Roger, ClientEarth
• Julian Schenten, University of Darmstadt, SOFIA – Society for Institutional Analysis
• Pelle Moos – Team leader Safety and Health, BEUC
• Violaine Verougstraete – Chemicals Management Director, Eurometaux
• Mirva Kipinoinen, Director Communications, Tukes

14:30-14:40 COFFEE BREAK
14:40-16:10 PANEL 4 – Safer substitution
Concept:

With increasing awareness of the need for safer and sustainable substitution, how can this shift be better incentivised? Support of research and development? Financial incentives? Education and awareness? SME capacity building? Increased information on substitution needs but also the available substitutes and their properties? A panel of stakeholders, from regulators, to industry to civil society will discuss what could help to increase the pace towards the implementation of safer alternatives.

Moderator:
Eeva Leinala, Principal Administrator, chemical safety and biosafety, OECD

Panelists:
• Anne-Sofie Bäckar , Executive Director, ChemSec
• Paul Ellis, Head of sustainable chemicals management, Kingfisher
• Joel Tickner, Professor Lowell University and Executive director of the Green Chemistry and Commerce Council
• Peter van der Zandt, Director Risk Management, ECHA
• Elke Van Asbroeck, Managing Director, Apeiron-Consult

16:10-16:20 COFFEE BREAK
16:20-17:50 PANEL 5 – Spotlight on textiles
Concept:

In 2020 HCF will take a look at progress on chemicals management within one well-known sector. The programme committee agreed that the textile/ apparel industry is one where there has been formidable challenges and exciting progress with innovative initiatives to achieve real improvements in the way textiles are made, distributed, sold, used and managed at the end of life. This panel will bring together stakeholders across the supply chain to debate what has been achieved, and what are the persistent barriers and useful incentives for further progress?

Moderator:
Leigh Stringer, Global business editor, Chemical Watch

Panelists:
• Frank Michel, Executive Director, ZDHC Foundation
• Christina Jönsson, Head of Division, RISE Research Institute of Sweden
• Ana-Maria Blass-Rico, Administrator, REACH Unit, DG Growth, EU-Commission
• Manfred Santen, Toxics Campaigner, Greenpeace
• Kirsten Kern, Manager of Supply Chains & Sustainability Initiatives, American Apparel & Footwear Association

17:50-18:00 CONCLUDING REMARKS AND CLOSING

Geert Dancet, Secretary General of HCF

 

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