The Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG) helps members develop and bring to market their innovative biobased and renewable chemical products through insightful policy and regulatory advocacy. BRAG is managed by B&C® Consortia Management, L.L.C., an affiliate of Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.

By Lynn L. Bergeson

A coalition will be launched on June 1, 2018, that intends to ensure that Safer Choice will continue to exist as a federal program within the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and to improve the program so that it operates in the most effective way possible for all stakeholders.  The Coalition will comprise companies throughout the chemical value chain -- chemical manufacturers, consumer product companies, and retailers -- as well as non-governmental organizations (NGO).  Benjamin E. Dunham, a Senior Policy Advisor at Holland & Knight LLP, and former Hill staffer, announced the new coalition at EPA’s May 14, 2018, Safer Choice Partner & Stakeholder Summit.  During the summit, industry representatives called for expanding Safer Choice to additional sectors.  EPA staff did not address this suggestion, however, stating instead that they will continue core efforts and urging industry to help with outreach.  Clive Davies, Chief of EPA’s Design for the Environment, stated that there are “activities that we’re going to have to cut back on and activities we’re going to have to maintain at full strength,” noting declining resources.  Davies requested industry input on aspects of Safer Choice that are most important to retain.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On April 25, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it was seeking applications for the 2018 Safer Choice Partner of the Year Awards in a notice in the Federal Register.  At the 2018 Partner of the Year Awards, Safer Choice will recognize stakeholder organizations from five broad categories:

  • Formulators/Product Manufacturers of both Consumer and Institutional/Industrial products;
  • Purchasers and Distributors;
  • Retailers;
  • Supporters (e.g., non-governmental organizations); and
  • Innovators (e.g., chemical manufacturers).

EPA states it developed the Partner of the Year Awards to recognize Safer Choice stakeholders “who have advanced the goals of the Pollution Prevention Act by reducing pollution at its source through safer chemistry.”  All applications and accompanying materials must be received by Wednesday, June 27, 2018.  Award winners will be recognized at a ceremony in the fall of 2018See alsoEPA To Hold Safer Choice Partner & Stakeholder Summit 2018."  More information is available in our memorandum “ACS GCI Announces Opening of 2018 Green Chemistry Challenge Awards; EPA Announces Opening of 2018 Safer Choice Partner of the Year Awards.”


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

EPA recently announced that it will be hosting a Safer Choice Partner & Stakeholder Summit on May 14, 2018, at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center at National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland, that will “build off of the previous Summits, exploring topics of importance to stakeholders and the program. The Summit will include informational sessions, and also breakout sessions with a focus on dialogue and developing solutions that can advance Safer Choice.”  Registration is available online. See alsoEPA Seeking Applications For 2018 Safer Choice Partner Of The Year Awards.”


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On April 11, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the third Safer Choice Partner & Stakeholder Summit 2018 in a Federal Register notice. The Summit is open to all Safer Choice program partners and stakeholders, and will include informational and breakout sessions, with a focus on dialogue and problem-solving. The event is being held on May 14, 2018, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (EDT) in Oxon Hill, MD. Registration is available online.


 

On March 6, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced in the Federal Register that an information collection request (ICR) had been submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) regarding consultations on the Safer Choice logo redesign.  Following the launch of the new Safer Choice logo, EPA plans to conduct consumer surveys to gauge consumer recognition of the new logo and to determine whether the new logo and educational activities are changing purchasing decisions.  This ICR was previously published as part of a public review opportunity in the Federal Register on November 3, 2016, and did not receive any comments.  With this Notice, there will be an additional 30 days of review as comments are due by April 5, 2017.    


 

On January 24, 2017, the Consumer Specialty Products Association (CSPA) sent a letter to President Donald Trump to express its commitment to working with Trump and his administration and to outline its top priorities, including the continuation of EPA’s Safer Choice Program.  In the letter, CSPA states that companies have made significant financial and employee investments to develop products that qualify for the Safer Choice logo and to market the products as Safer Choice products.  CSPA requested that Trump support the voluntary program, arguing that elimination of it would negate the innovation that resulted from the costly efforts.  In addition to continuing the program, the letter suggests that EPA expand the Safer Choice Program to include antimicrobial products that meet the criteria as long as they are not specifically prohibited from using the logo under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).


 

During the Safer Choice Partner and Stakeholder Summit on November 15- 16, 2016, EPA announced that new product categories were under consideration for the Safer Choice chemical program, including arts and crafts, home improvements, food grade and marine lubricants, and paints and coatings. EPA invited suggestions from participants regarding additional product categories to consider; Summit participants were supportive of an increase to the number of chemicals, products, and product categories in the program.  A stakeholder noted that many paint manufacturers already sell paints with low volatile organic chemical (VOC) emissions but the Safer Choice label could help retailers recognize the safer chemistries.
 
Other Summit participants urged chemical manufacturers to create new molecules that adhere to the Safer Choice Standard to replace chemicals in their current products, specifically preservatives. More information on the discussion regarding product category additions can be found in the Bloomberg BNA Daily Environmental Report (subscription required).


 

On October 11, 2016, EPA published a notice in the Federal Register seeking applications for the 2017 Safer Choice Partner of the Year Awards.  The Partner of the Year Awards were developed in 2015 to recognize Safer Choice stakeholders advancing the goals of the Pollution Prevention Act, as well as the Safer Choice program through safer chemistry.  There are five broad categories of the awards:


 
Formulators/Product Manufacturers of both Consumer and Institutional/ Industrial (I/I) products; 
 

 
Purchasers and Distributors;
 

 
Retailers;
 

 
Supporters (e.g., non-governmental organizations); and
 

 
Innovators (e.g., chemical manufacturers).
 
 
Applications are due by December 16, 2016, with award winners being announced at a ceremony in late spring of 2017.

 

On October 7, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the first ever Safer Choice Partner and Stakeholder Summit. The summit will be the first of several meetings intended to explore topics of importance to stakeholders and the Safer Choice Program. The Safer Choice label was created to help consumers identify products with safer chemical ingredients, previously known as the Design for the Environment (DfE) label. Over 2,000 products are qualified to carry the Safer Choice label. The summit will occur on November 12-13, 2015, in Washington, D.C., with the time and venue still to be determined.


 

Last week, EPA unveiled the new Safer Choice label. According to the EPA website, a product with the Safer Choice label means that EPA scientists have reviewed every ingredient in that product to ensure they meet the rigorous health and environmental criteria included in the Safer Choice Standard. Companies wishing to learn how to qualify for the Safer Choice label should visit EPA's Resources for Safer Choice Product Manufacturers.