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Baltic pilot cases on reduction of emissions by substitution of hazardous chemicals and resource efficiency (LIFE Fit for REACH)
Start date: Oct 1, 2015, End date: Mar 31, 2020 PROJECT  ONGOING 

Background Some harmful chemical substances produced by industrial activities remain in the environment for a very long time once released. There, they can accumulate via the food chain and, if toxic, exert harmful effects on living organisms. These so-called persistent bio-accumulative toxic (PBT) substances can also be transported long distances from their original emission source, causing significant damage to ecosystems. PBT contamination is a recognised problem in the Baltic Sea region. The most effective way to prevent the entry of these hazardous substances into the environment is to prevent the pollution at its emission sources, avoiding the use of these substances in the first place, and finding substitutes. Objectives LIFE Fit for Reach aims to offer user SMEs a full ‘chemicals management package’, including capacity building in line with the CLP regulation (Classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures) and MSDS (material safety data sheet) guidelines, information on chemical inventories and general management practices, guidance on how to follow legal obligations on specific substances (SVHC), and proposals on how to implement substitution as a core action to reduce environmental impacts from the use of chemicals in their own products and processes, possibly also realising resource efficiency gains. Substitution will be used as an entry point to companies and as pilot cases to illustrate all elements of a chemicals’ management at SME level, including the assessment of alternatives, socio-economic evaluation, and an analysis of the social motivation for substitution. The aim is to prepare user SMEs to face the future challenges for chemicals’ management. This means understanding today, any future restrictions i.e. making Baltic SMEs ‘Fit for REACH’. Specific objectives are to: Develop online tools to assist in the management of chemicals among SMEs – e.g. for identifying substances based on their CAS number or to check MSDS; Carry out a socio-economic impact assessment of the pilot cases and an assessment of motivations for, and barriers to, taking the decision to substitute the chemical; Contribute to the SUBSPORT database by entering the Baltic cases and translating international cases to the Baltic languages, thus making them accessible to Baltic SMEs; Carry out policy dialogue: round tables on implementation and enforcement of REACH/CLP in the Baltic States; international seminar on new developments in REACH and CLP Directives; and Carry out society dialogue: greening industry, greening procurement, greening consumption: assessing public opinion and readiness to support a greener corporate identity and performance of industry. Expected results: The LIFE Fit for Reach project aims to achieve the following results: Minimise the exposure to hazardous substances. Some six in-depth and 50-80 light substitution cases will be implemented as examples of good chemicals management; Some 50% of the target SMEs EEA (250), LV (300) and LT (400) will be informed about the project. A smaller group (10%) will have expressed interest in cooperation and concluded cooperation agreements, leading to further reduction of HS; Guidelines for hazardous-substance-free procurement will be drafted and tested by several companies; A web platform and its tools will be developed. The impacts of the project actions on the environmental problem as well as the costs and benefits of chemical risk reduction measures will be assessed; and Substitution cases from Baltic states will be published on SUBSPORT.

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