Talking about chemicals and their impacts on the environment means taking into consideration manifold aspects: from the impacts generated at the production plants, to the ones of the downstream activities that use chemicals for their manufacture, up to the possible effects on the environment during use and final disposal – or recovery - of the articles containing chemicals.
In Europe, a wide regulatory framework aims at boosting the efficient use of resources and to cut pollution stemming from human activities: legislation on energy consumption, on waste, on emissions to air and water, on biodiversity, on safe running of industrial plants (e.g. Industrial Emissions and Seveso Directives), on the impacts of specific sectors (e.g. agriculture, forestry, chemicals, transports, etc.).
All of these rules address, among others, companies producing chemicals, that have to stick to specific permits, concentration limits and to undergo controls from authorities in order to start and continue producing and selling their products in Europe.
Going beyond this huge set of rules, in the last decades the chemical industry has proved to be very pro-active by setting ambitious targets in the reduction of its impacts on the environment, through specific projects and voluntary schemes like the well known Responsible Care® Programme.
Companies producing chemicals for textiles and leather are engaged in continuous research and innovation to reduce energy and water consumption as well as decrease production of waste materials both in their plants and in the plants of their clients, making the value chain increasingly sustainable. New products, new ways of managing chemicals during manufacture and communication programs aimed at educating users on the correct use of chemicals are key elements to reach these objectives.