CleanGredients – 2017 Year in Review

It was a busy year for the CleanGredients program! Our website got a significant facelift to better serve our company subscribers as well as elevate news and articles about the EPA Safer Choice program and green chemistry. There were several reasons for these changes. Presently, the value of CleanGredients is measured by the success of the Safer Choice program and formulators’ demand for suppliers to list compliant products ensuring they have as many options as possible for making Safer Choice eligible products. Formulator demand is a result of greater consumer demand for safer products, so GreenBlue decided we must do more to help stimulate consumer and institutional demand for Safer Choice labeled products. Consistent with that logic, we are making the website more “consumer-facing” in order to bring them into the Safer Choice community.

As a nonprofit organization focused on sustainable materials, product design and manufacturing issues, we realized we also needed to do more to raise awareness among the public  and  institutional consumers about the need for and benefits of green chemistry. We have committed to write more original content (blogs) and to share interesting articles and news of interest to both our business customers and consumer audience. We see an opportunity to share information with both audiences that allow them to explore a variety of perspectives surrounding this important topic of “green” or “sustainable” chemistry. For business audiences, we will endeavor to keep them apprised of important issues such as the ingredient disclosure laws being enacted in California and New York. For consumer audiences, we will educate and inform them about the benefits of safer chemistries but also about the challenges that industry faces to provide products with these benefits.

A major goal of CleanGredients is to provide formulators with a list of ingredient supplier products that is as extensive and functionally diverse as possible. We not only want to make it easier for companies to use safer formulations in their products, but also create opportunities for new product categories to obtain the Safer Choice label. We do this by making sure that we mirror the functional classes represented by EPA’s Safer Chemical Ingredient List (SCIL) and that we continually grow the number of trade name products in each functional class. In 2017, we made progress on both fronts by adding emollients as another functional class and significantly increasing the number of listings for colorants and preservatives. With respect to preservatives, we are making sure to share some important industry-NGO collaborations that are expanding the selection of safer alternatives for this challenging class of chemicals such as the Green Chemistry in Commerce’s (“GC3”) preservatives competition as well as the Environmental Defense Fund’s (“EDF”) Smart Innovation report on preservatives. See this month’s blog  for an interview with the lead author of EDF’s report, Jennifer McPartland, in which she shares insights about their approach for working with industry to identify safer preservatives.

Looking ahead to 2018, as part of our efforts to promote the Safer Choice program, we are exploring the value of creating a Safer Choice product database with information that will help household and institutional purchasers quickly find certified products from online and storefront retailers as well as national distributors of industrial and institutional products. Stay tuned for more news on this exciting development.