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PUBLICATIONS

Articles by IEHN Staff

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WALMART GROWS THE CHEMICAL FOOTPRINT MOVEMENT
Richard Liroff
May 2016
With chemical disclosure on the rise, the mega retailer is one example of a company adjusting the way product ingredients are tracked and disclosed.
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cvs health and wba Race to rx for safer chemicals
Richard Liroff
February 2015
Now that Walgreens owns "Priority Substances" star Boots Alliance, which drugstore thoroughbred should we bet on?
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Apache and ACS GCI Collaborate to advance greener fracking fluids
Richard Liroff
January 2015
Hydraulic fracturing is a way of life in many communities. Here's how a green chemistry organization is working with giants of oil and gas.
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BAKER HUGHES CLUES IN, REVEALS FORMERLY SECRET FRACK CHEMICALS
Richard Liroff
May 2014
A new approach to reporting chemicals used in frack fluids holds the promise of substantially reducing and perhaps eliminating cloaking of chemical identities behind confidential business information claims.
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shareholder engagement as a tool for risk management and disclosure
Richard Liroff
October 2013
Overview of shareholder engagements on hydraulic fracturing, a chapter in the American Bar Association volume, Beyond the Fracking Wars: A Guide for Lawyers, Public Officials, Planners and Citizens.
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european banks want more hard data on risks from frackers
Richard Liroff
April 2013
The Climate Principles Framework Initiative, which includes some of the world's largest banks, has released new guidelines on shale energy development for energy companies.
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5 ways to clean up fracking's chemical act
Richard Liroff
September 2012
A prescription for the energy industry to lower fracking’s chemical impact and address community concerns with more meaningful public disclosure.
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Silent Spring +50: What's Really Changed?
Richard Liroff

September 2012
If Carson were writing today, she might not limit herself to pesticides but might ask more broadly, can we construct healthier buildings without using cancer-causing materials or toxic heavy metals, design fire-safe consumer products without using toxic flame retardants made from bromine or chlorine, or sell automobiles whose new car smell isn’t hazardous to our health?
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gri's looming challenge: standardized sustainability reporting vs. company-tailored "material" Reports
Sanford Lewis
October 2011
The Global Reporting Initiative has reached a fork in the road. Should sustainability reports that are prepared according to its guidelines be more standardized, so that it is easier to compare data among similar companies? Or should companies be encouraged to focus principally on the particulars that are most material to their business?
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the real story about the risks of fracking
Richard Liroff
July 2011
Companies and local activists are speaking past one another in the hydraulic fracturing controversy. Investors offer a third voice seeking to get at the real environmental and business risk management issues. Companies are becoming more transparent but have a long way to go. This article identifies areas where greater transparency is needed to build investor and community trust.
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HOW YOUR INPUT CAN SHAPE CORPORATE REPORTING OF TOXIC FOOTPRINTS
Richard Liroff
June 2011
The Global Reporting Initiative, the gold standard for corporate sutainability reporting, is inviting suggestions of new topics for the upcoming revisions of its standards. Companies that are systematically reducing their products' toxicity and reporting publicly on their progress should submit comments urging GRI to add specific reporting provisions that capture such efforts.
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AFTER DEEPWATER HORIZON AND FUKUSHIMA, CAN SUSTAINABILITY REPORTING HELP FEND OFF CATASTROPHE?
Sanford Lewis
June 2011
What role, if any, can sustainability reports play in anticipating and preventing the worst forms of corporate destruction of our planet? Is sustainability reporting regarding catastrophic risk only reactive, or is it anticipatory?
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TOXIC CHEMICAL COCKTAILS AND WHY YOU SHOULD KNOW YOUR LIMIT
Richard Liroff

February 2011
European regulatory and science advisory bodies are intensifying their focus on hazardous mixtures. Companies should pay heed. Over the last decade, though US regulators have worked on chemical mixtures, most initiatives to restrict chemicals in products and supply chains have come from Europe and have then impacted American manufacturers and retailers.
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TRICLOSAN'S DIRTY SECRETS CAN LAND YOUR PRODUCTS IN "TOXIC LOCKOUT"
Richard Liroff
December 2010
Following on the September 2010 article "Should Your Company Wash Its Hands of Triclosan", this article describes Colgate-Palmolive's exiting triclosan in its Softsoap hand and dish-washing products, and Staples placing triclosan on its list of roughly two dozen "bad actor" chemicals. Companies supplying Staples with soaps containing triclosan may face toxic lockout.
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WHY RELATIONS BETWEEN COMPANIES, TRADE GROUPS MAKE INVESTORS WARY
Richard Liroff
December 2010
Investors have been increasingly pressuring companies to disclose their relationships with trade associations, driven in part by concern that associations take public policy positions that are contrary to the best business and reputational interests of companies. This article focuses on Eastman Chemical Company, the American Chemistry Council, and Bisphenol A.
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CAN SHAREHOLDERS BENCHMARK CORPORATE "SAFETY CULTURE"?
Sanford Lewis
November 2010
The  Presidential Commission on the  Gulf Coast oil  disaster has said that the disaster was caused by a lack of “safety culture” among the companies operating the deep water drilling operation. How can investors benchmark  companies' safety culture? Can shareholder resolutions and inquiries play a role?
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LEARNING FROM BP'S "SUSTAINABLE" SELF-PORTRAITS: FROM "INTEGRATED SPIN" TO INTEGRATED REPORTING
Sanford Lewis
October 2010
Just as the paradigm of integrated corporate reporting begins to gain momentum, the BP oil spill highlighted significant shortcomings of current reporting standards and practice. Mere “integration” of current financial and sustainability disclosure standards could yield little more than “integrated spin,” neglecting substantial areas of risk.
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TEN LESSONS FOR ENGAGING WITH INVESTORS ON TOXICS
Richard A. Liroff
October 2010
Investors have engaged scores of companies in recent years on toxics in their products. Here are ten lessons that hopefully companies have learned.
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SHOULD YOUR COMPANY WASH ITS HANDS OF TRICLOSAN?
Richard A. Liroff
September 2010
The negative profile of the anti-bacterial chemical triclosan has been rising, so companies should be concerned about whether it will follow in Bisphenol A's (BPA) footsteps and get removed from consumer markets. Companies may want to be considering exit strategies.
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WILL CORPORATE FEAR MONGERING DETER REASONABLE ACTION AT THE FASB?
Sanford Lewis
September 2010
The Financial Accounting Standards Board  has  once again been bombarded with comments from the corporate legal community opposing reforms of contingent liability disclosure guidelines. One can only hope that common sense will prevail at the FASB  and their reasonable new standard will be upheld and implemented.
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A FORMULA FOR BUILDING A GREEN CHEMISTRY FUTURE
Richard A. Liroff
April 2010
This first part of a four part series lays out "Big Hairy Audacious Goals" for green chemistry in the year 2030. The series complements a prior series on benchmarking corporate toxic footprints.
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A GAME PLAN FOR ACCELERATING GREEN CHEMISTRY
Richard A. Liroff
April 2010
There's a compelling case for increased, organized, public and private sector investment in green chemistry. This article focuses on sectoral and geographic approaches, sharing corporate innovations, and changing corporate management structure.]
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HOW POLICY CHANGE CAN SPUR GREEN CHEMISTRY
Richard A. Liroff
April 2010
Changes in regulatory policy can go a long way to speed transition to a future of green chemistry. This article looks at proposed policy changes and at lessons learned from the non-regulatory Presidential Green Chemistry Awards Program and the Department of Energy's Biomass Program.
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MODELS FOR SCALING UP GREEN CHEMISTRY
Richard A. Liroff
April 2010
Two landmark private sector initiatives are models for the development of green chemistry, demonstrating how a robust federal initiative could speed the realization of green chemistry.
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LEGAL FRONTIERS OF SUSTAINABILITY
Sanford Lewis
April 2010
In this two part series at CSRWire Talkback, Sanford Lewis asks, "Is Sustainability a Fiduciary Duty of Corporate Directors?" and "Will Integrated Financial and Sustainability Reporting Become a Legal Mandate?"
To view Part 1, click here and to view Part 2 click here.

THE CHEMICALS THAT SHOULD BE ON YOUR RADAR...BUT PROBABLY AREN'T
Richard A. Liroff

February 2010
Companies ask me, "What's the next chemical I need to worry about?" Consider endocrine disruptors (EDs). As a class, these chemicals can have profound and unparalleled impacts on families, communities and businesses because of their possible links to learning disabilities, selected cancers, reproductive disorders, diabetes and other health disorders.
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WHAT DOES THE FDA'S BPA DECISION MEAN FOR COMPANIES?
Richard A. Liroff

January 2010
FDA is now promoting reduced exposure to BPA. So companies will need to change their BPA communication strategies to better align themselves with consumer concerns. Companies could gain reputational benefits and free media attention from supporting proposed legislation restricting use of BPA.
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TEN KEY QUESTIONS ON ENTERPRISE RISK MANAGEMENT
Sanford Lewis
January 2010
The recent financial crisis, compounded by snowballing sustainability issues such as climate change and product toxicity, made it clear that  enterprise risk management is a work in progress.  At the start of a new decade, here are 10  key questions to ask about  turning the patchwork of risk management approaches into viable public policy and corporate governance solutions.
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an updated benchmark for corporate green chemistry practices
Richard A. Liroff
November 2009
This benchmark, with its companion case examples and links to tools, can help you figure out how to reduce your company's toxic footprint by reducing and eliminating "worst of the worst" toxic chemicals and promoting use of "best of the best" green ones.
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how companies are committing to reduce toxic footprints
Richard A. Liroff
December 2009
Companies need to move towards using greener chemicals because the principal drivers demanding such change -- science, regulation, and B2B environmentally preferable purchasing programs -- are surging and will intensify. This article describes practices of corporate leaders.
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getting a grip on your company's toxic footprint
Richard A. Liroff
December 2009
At first glance it seems an impossible task to take on the hundreds or thousands of chemicals in your company's supply chain, but a number of companies have developed useful approaches to addressing this enormous challenge.
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the benefits of coming clean on your company's toxic footprint
Richard A. Liroff
December 2009
Smart companies have begun to take dramatic steps forward in disclosing potentially toxic ingredients to investors and their customers. Smart companies downstream in the supply chain--especially consumer-facing ones--should also align their public positions on reforming chemical policy with the health concerns and information needs of their customers.
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don't ask Don't Tell: a Bad Framework for Risk Analysis By Directors and Investors
Sanford Lewis
November 2009
The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) is revisiting the issue of contingent liability disclosures. It may be about to take a step backward. Will we have to wait for a flood of lawsuits, or will regulators act to establish clearer reporting rules that encourage better management of risks? This article offers some positive suggestions.
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nanomaterials: why your company should sweat the small stuff
Richard A. Liroff
September 2009
Nanomaterials have the potential to yield extraordinary social benefits. but they're substantially unregulated, underassessed for impacts on health and environment, and they've raised cautionary flags for insurers. Here are some of the key questions your company might ask while doing due diligence on nanomaterials.
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why the adage "the dose makes the poison" can be toxic to corporate chemicals policy
Richard A. Liroff
June 2009
If you're a senior corporate strategist and controversy erupts over some chemical found in small amounts in your product, if your science advisor or trade association says "the dose makes the poison," get a second opinion. To avoid toxic lockout from the marketplace, you should heed the updated version: "The dose and the timing make the poison."
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don't know your company's toxic footprint? Ignorance will not be bliss
Richard A. Liroff
May 2009
The noose continues to tighten around toxic chemicals in products and corporate supply chains, due to new regulations and corporate safer chemicals purchasing programs. Corporate strategic planners should add assessing and reducing their companies' "toxic footprints" to their "to do" lists.
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reducing pesticide use: how to cut costs and be a green hero
Richard A. Liroff
April 2009
Leading companies have been systematically reducing their pesticide use, cutting costs while also lowering hazards to farm families, farm workers, local communities and the environment. Smart companies seeking to make their supply chains more sustainable will profit from learning what industry leaders already know about living with fewer pesticides.
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When the 'FDA Approves Salmonella,' How Should Your Company Respond?
Richard A. Liroff
March 2009
There's growing public unease that government health and safety agencies have been compromised by anti-science, anti-regulatory interests and cannot be trusted. So it's not enough for consumer-facing companies to declare "we're in compliance with regulations". Here are the extra steps some companies are taking.
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Is your company ready for CPR?
Richard A. Liroff
February 2009
CPR (Chemical Policy Reform) is coming. CPR is a long overdue, systematic and fundamental overhaul of the basic approach the U.S. federal government takes to managing hazards from chemicals in products. Is your company ready?
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toxic lockout
Richard A. Liroff
May/June 2008
It is smart business practice for corporate managers to look beyond compliance with federal regulations — which badly lag state and foreign laws and many private sector programs — to strategically manage business risks from hazardous chemicals in the products they make and sell.
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TOXICITY AND HUMAN HEALTH
BSR/IEHN
April 2008
This 3 page "Word From the Street" briefing paper is a joint publication of Business for Social Responsibility and IEHN. It includes a table of risks and benefits to businesses from management of toxic chemicals in products and criteria for evaluating business risks.
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KNOCKING OUT TOXICS: WHY COMPANIES ARE BEING PRESSED TO USE SAFER CHEMICALS

Richard A. Liroff
November 16, 2006
Companies are facing accelerating pressures from governments and from other companies to adopt safer chemicals principles and practices; corporate strategic planners had better pay attention, lest they get shut out of markets.
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GREEN CHEMISTRY NEWSLETTER: BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES AND RISKS FROM TOXIC CHEMICALS IN PRODUCTS

Richard A. Liroff
April 2006
Green chemistry is poised for take-off in the business community, as requirements to reduce and eliminate chemicals of concern cascade through supply chains.
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BENCHMARKING CORPORATE MANAGEMENT OF SAFER CHEMICALS IN CONSUMER PRODUCTS—A TOOL FOR INVESTORS AND SENIOR EXECUTIVES
Richard A. Liroff
February 2005
This article identifies innovative corporate programs to reduce product toxicity, and offers a governance framework of benchmarked "best practices" that corporate managers can use to assess their companies' practices and investors can use in screening investments, managing portfolio risk, and engaging in shareholder actions.
Click to view the article (336 KB PDF)


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