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ZDHC Releases Chemical Management System Guidance Manual

The Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) group, which has a goal of achieving zero discharge of hazardous chemicals by 2020, released its 2015 Chemical Management System (CMS) Guidance Manual for retailers, brands and their supply chain partners.

The new manual, which is offered in English and Chinese, focuses on the approach, structure and documentation necessary to create and support a ZDHC Program CMS.

This framework builds on ISO management standards and other applicable frameworks like the Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) Practical Chemical Management Toolkit and the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) Chemicals Management Working Group (CMWG) Framework.

“A sound chemical management system is paramount to worker safety and will reduce environmental impacts on the community and the broader environment,” the manual notes. “A CMS is therefore one of the cornerstones for ensuring continuous improvement towards our 2020 goal of zero discharge of hazardous chemicals throughout the life cycle of our products.”

This management approach can also provide the structure for current roadmap projects.

The objective of the ZDHC CMS is to develop a management plan that helps brands, retailers, Tier 1 and 2 suppliers and chemical suppliers understand their roles, by creating clear guidelines that allow stakeholders to participate and take responsibility for their part in the value chain. The manual claims this alignment and harmonization is very important to achieving the group’s vision, mission and 2020 goal.

The manual consists of five sections:

  1. Commitment to CMS (Plan Phase)
  2. Assessment, Planning and Prioritization (Plan Phase)
  3. Chemicals Management (Do Phase)
  4. Monitoring (Check Phase)
  5. Management Review (Act Phase)

Each phase contains steps designed to help an organization create a systematic process for managing hazardous chemicals.

“The ultimate goal for a CMS is to create an organization that is committed to the safe, sustainable and environmentally-responsible management of chemicals and chemical discharge,” according to the manual.

The CMS Guidance Manual will be updated periodically. This first version focuses primarily on foundational materials, while the group says; later versions will include more detailed content on progressive and aspirational subjects.