Category 18 April 2019

Use of phase-out lists for hazardous chemicals to systematically reduce their consumption by the Stockholm municipality

The phase-out list is a centrally required document used in the procurement process of the Stockholm County Council (SLL) in Sweden. The aim is to gradually reduce the organisation's use of chemicals which are hazardous to human health and the environment. Every few years, the phase-out list is updated with higher requirements. 

The challenge

The use of hazardous substances and chemicals pose dangers to the health of laboratory workers and other people using them for specific applications. The exposure of harmful substances and chemicals to the atmosphere can cause harmful environmental impacts as well.  Recognising the risks of substances of a harmful nature, the Stockholm county council prepared a phase-out list for the systematic reduction of the use of hazardous substances.  

The innovation

The current list is in force for the period 2012–2016 and contains both discontinued substances, which are to be phased out by Stockholm County Council completely by 2016, as well as reduced substances, which are to be phased out in the future and may only be purchased in exceptional cases. The council tightens the targets of substance reduction. It has set the target to reduce the total quantity of phased-out substances by 80 per cent by 2016 compared to 2006. The target from 2016 on will be to neither purchase nor procure goods containing substances on the County Council's phase-out list for all County Council’s funded activities.

The introduction of hazardous substance phase-out lists is a part of SLL county efforts for promoting sustainable practices within the council’s procurement units.

Substances to be phased out are listed in three separate sub lists: (1) Chemicals and Chemical Products, (2) Articles and Consumables and (3) Chemical Products in Laboratory Activity.

Why did it work?

The harmful substance phase-out-lists form part of the county council’s chemical strategy and are compiled under the environmental policy programme Environmental Challenge 2016 with the aim to reduce risks to the environment and human health. They provide systematic procedures for the county’s procurement units to monitor and comply with the council’s chemical strategy. The responsibilities towards implementation of the chemical strategy become clear for procurement units.

Further deployment

The SLL county’s hazardous substance phasing-out lists provide an effective decision support tool by specifying the sustainability criteria for the procurement of selected substances. The tool can be replicated in other municipalities as well. Since this practice is already being exercised successfully for procurement in the SLL county, the maturity of this eco-innovation is estimated to be beyond 9 on GML scale.