Publications : 2011

Panko JM, Hitchcock KM. 2011. Chemical footprint: Enduring product sustainability. EM: AWMA Magazine for Environ Managers, December:12–15.


A sustainable product is one that limits the consumption of natural resources, utilizes fair labor practices, and minimizes adverse health impacts to humans and the environment throughout its life cycle. Understanding a product’ chemical footprint, therefore, is essential to ensure that the substitute chemical results in less health risk than the original substance and does not simply shift the risk from one endpoint to another. Additionally, Timberland has developed the Green-Index, which scores products based on the average of scores given to three factors: climate impact, resource consumption, and chemicals used. The US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Design for the Environment (DfE) program offers a starting point to selecting alternative chemicals when considering substitutes. Changing chemical regulatory landscapes, such as Canada’s Chemical Management Plan and Challenge Program, the European Union’s REACH, and the myriad of proposed state-led regulations burgeoning throughout the US, inevitably affect the entire supply chain.