Safe and sustainable by design toolbox

The European Green Deal sets out to transition towards climate neutrality, a circular economy and a toxic free society by 2050. Safe and Sustainable by Design (SSbD) chemicals and materials is the key prevention approach within the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability and the zero pollution ambition of the European Green Deal.

SSbD is a strategic approach to develop and evaluate new chemicals and materials and evaluate existing ones, keeping in mind the functionality and minimizing negative impacts on human health and the environment. The European Commission (EC) developed a framework to assess if a chemical substance or material can be considered SSbD. The EC SSbD framework provides an approach on how to address hazard, risks, environmental and socio-economic impacts.

PARC aims to support the operationalization of the SSbD framework developed by the EC using four interlinked sets of activities:

Translate the EC SSbD framework towards operationalization 

A key element of the PARC SSbD approach is the development of a toolbox, which will give guidance to the users about functionality, chemical safety, environmental sustainability and socio-economic aspects. PARC focuses on:

  • Establishing a good working infrastructure with potential users

Acquiring input from and work with industry, academia and regulatory community is key to both the toolbox-development and reflecting on the practical aspects of making SSbD operational. Stakeholder perspectives will feed into on how safety and sustainability assessments can be best integrated in new chemicals and materials development, and translated into toolbox features, interface and workflows as well as new tool development.

  • Establishing PARC wide collaborations on specific toolbox needs

Developing a toolbox may involve the need for bespoke working groups on specific integrative topics (e.g. FAIR data implementation).  Such groups will be coordinated towards desired ends.

  • Positioning the PARC SSbD activities

Developing information material, guidance documents, workshops and lectures to support the implementation of the PARC toolbox and to further support SSbD operationalization will help address the PARC SSbD goals.

Toolbox development 

The SSbD toolbox developed within PARC features a structured collection of tools to be applied to address the different steps to the EC SSbD framework appropriately and reliably. It will serve as an important tool in supporting the EU Green Deal ambition including the Chemical Strategy for Sustainability by providing assistance in assessing the safety and sustainability of chemicals throughout their entire life cycle. Its scope covers inter alia chemical safety over the life cycle, product sustainability aspects (including environmental life cycle assessment (E-LCA), economic (Life Cycle Costing-LCC), social life cycle assessment methodologies (S-LCA)) and functionality of chemicals in a product. By that, it aims to support designers, developers, and risk assessors of chemicals and materials from industry, academia and governments  in applying and assessing SSbD of chemicals and materials. The toolbox will be designed in such a way that it enables (re-)design and assessment at the different stages of the innovation process.

More information on the content of the toolbox, the development approach as well as the timeline can be found in the information leaflet.

Toolbox operationalization: use cases and indicators

This activity provides scientific and technical support to develop and improve the SSbD toolbox that may support SSbD chemicals and materials, to guide the adoption of adequate preventive interventions in good time and achieve SSbD goals.

The activity focuses on:

  • Identifying and setting up relevant use cases

PARC aims to explore Different types of applications of SSbD and to test the methodology recommended by the EC and the toolbox. Furthermore, PARC will supplement the use cases developed by the EC. To this purpose, a survey of existing Safe by Design (SbD) and SSbD case studies and projects has been developed and shared with all the PARC Consortium. Additionally, we are reaching out and setting up collaboration with external case studies and gaining experience by inviting case study operators to joint webinars.

  • Testing the applicability of the EC SSbD criteria and methodology

This task is supported by the engagement of relevant stakeholders that are involved in use cases able to provide inputs on barriers and incentives for SSbD implementation in the value chain.

  • Developing an inventory of relevant indicators

This will be useful to follow the progresses of the toolbox applicability. This inventory will be aligned to EC initiatives, including the indicator program foreseen by the European Environment Agency

Knowledge sharing and education as key factors for efficient SSbD operationalization

Promoting a mindset about safety and sustainability is key to successfully implement SSbD in the innovation process and to bring it to a high level of acceptance. Researchers involved in innovation, industry professionals and other stakeholders can stay up to date on the latest research and best practices in SSbD of chemicals and materials through knowledge sharing and training. By providing (future) innovators with a comprehensive education in their field of studies, they can develop the necessary skills, knowledge and attitude to drive positive change within the industry. Therefore, part of PARC´s engagement regarding SSbD is the development of a knowledge sharing platform which provides a portal for sharing information on data, tools and guidance (developed inside and outside of PARC), delivers news on progress and initiatives with regard to SSbD as well as relevant exchange with the SSbD community. The platform is also used as a basis to provide SSbD training and education materials.