Advancing the global commitment to safe chemical management

As part of her focus on the impact of chemicals on persons and communities, Caroline Boden, director of shareholder advocacy, recently spoke on a panel at the International Conference on Chemicals Management.

In September 2023, I had the privilege of attending the 5th session of the International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM5), organized by the UN Environment Programme and hosted by the German government in Bonn, Germany.

Given that considerable challenges remain regarding the global management of chemicals and pollution, and that the international community’s initial 2020 goals were not met, there’s an urgency to develop and adopt a ‘Beyond 2020 Framework’ to address the growing impacts of chemicals and waste on human and environmental health. While at the ICCM5 conference, I attended several panel presentations on topics ranging from advancing a human rights-based approach to chemicals management, to the chemical industry’s action plan coming out of the ICCM5 process. I also observed the high-level discussions and negotiations of the proposed global targets, which will hopefully help drive progress in minimizing the negative health and environmental impacts from chemicals and pollution.

In addition, I participated in a panel discussion on the opportunities for the financial sector to advance a global transition to safe and sustainable chemistry. I offered a perspective on how Mercy Investment Services, as a faith-based investment organization, approaches the issue of chemical management and the progress we have made in engaging portfolio companies to phase out harmful substances and transition to safer solutions, in collaboration with partners through the Investor Environmental Health Network and the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility.

I look forward to incorporating the outcomes of the ICCM5 conference, including the Global Chemicals Framework, into our ongoing company engagements.

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