Chemicals are necessary when producing paper and paperboard, for instance to endow the products with specific properties. Certain chemicals are used in large amounts while others only occur in small quantities.
Overarching decisions on the choice and use of chemicals are handled by Holmen's Chemical Products Committee. Together with the unit-specific chemicals committees, it monitors legislation, rules and development in the field and sets criteria for purchasing and use. The chemicals are assessed in Holmen's units on the basis of aspects such as technical function, product safety, the working environment and the external environment. This assessment is then used as a basis for an initial risk scenario, and to draw up and take necessary precautionary measures to protect people and the environment. In the next step, a more detailed risk assessment is carried out in the organisation's chemicals handling system, where handling and tasks are carefully specified in detail.
Chemical handling is also regularly examined by a third party by means of periodical inspections, supervisory visits, external audits and risk analyses initiated by the operation itself. All in all, Holmen's units have a very good picture of the risks associated with chemicals and chemical handling in the company's operations.
Holmen works constantly to develop and improve the joint chemicals database used within the Group, work that is conducted in close cooperation with the chemicals suppliers.
Holmen's units report the use of chemicals to the environmental supervisory authorities.
Managing requirements and sustainability aspects
The work of the Group-wide Chemical Products Committee also includes monitoring, surveying and complying with important ecolabels and requirements for the industry, such as the EU's REACH Regulation (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of Chemicals), the Nordic Swan Ecolabel and the EU Ecolabel.
Holmen constantly works to replace chemicals that are harmful to the environment and to health with less harmful chemicals, where the key focus is on chemicals that include substances listed on the REACH candidate list of Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC).