Minimizing unregulated hazardous chemicals in consumer products : challenges, strategies, and motivations of proactive companies

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Chemical regulations have historically been weak, leading many to argue that human and environmental health is not adequately protected from chemicals that could pose an unacceptable risk. In an environment of regulatory deficits, some proactive consumer product companies are voluntarily exceeding regulatory requirements by restricting from their products unregulated chemicals that could harm human or environmental health, despite the fact that these actions are costly. They do not usually advertise the details of their voluntary programs. This dissertation uses in-depth interviews with senior environmental directors of 20 multinational consumer product companies to examine: (1) consumer product companies' chemicals-related information needs and the challenges they face in obtaining information about the chemicals used in their products; (2) the details of their voluntary strategies to minimize unregulated, but potentially hazardous, chemicals in their products; and (3) their motivations for engaging in voluntary chemicals management. The research results indicate that challenges in obtaining chemicals-related information exist across business sectors. The interviewed companies each designed strategies that attempted to overcome these information challenges, and several strategy elements were common across the sectors studied. The most significant reasons companies reported for trying to minimize dangerous chemicals in their products were to: achieve a competitive advantage and stay ahead of regulations; manage relationships and maintain legitimacy with stakeholders; and put managerial values into practice. The research results may be useful to business and industry representatives who are interested in minimizing chemicals-related product risks and to policy makers who are unfamiliar with companies' challenges in making safer consumer products. Suggestions are offered for policy improvements that increase knowledge, transparency, and information flow about hazardous chemicals and their uses in order to limit the adverse consequences of chemical use and stimulate innovation of safer products.


Type of resource text
Form electronic; electronic resource; remote
Extent 1 online resource.
Publication date 2012
Issuance monographic
Language English


Associated with Scruggs, Caroline E
Associated with Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources (Stanford University)
Primary advisor Kennedy, Donald, 1931-2020
Primary advisor Ortolano, Leonard
Thesis advisor Kennedy, Donald, 1931-2020
Thesis advisor Ortolano, Leonard
Thesis advisor Schwarzman, Megan
Thesis advisor Wilson, Mike (Michael Perry)
Advisor Schwarzman, Megan
Advisor Wilson, Mike (Michael Perry)


Genre Theses

Bibliographic information

Statement of responsibility Caroline Scruggs.
Note Submitted to the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources.
Thesis Thesis (Ph.D.)--Stanford University, 2012.
Location electronic resource

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