A documented chemical purchasing policy and procedure provides a standardized process for screening and collecting the required information on chemicals prior to their purchase and subsequent use on-site. When establishing a chemical purchasing policy and procedure, consider the information and steps below to ensure your purchasing program covers all the required areas.

Objectives of a Chemical Purchasing Policy

  • Define roles and responsibilities for approving chemical purchases
  • Define the types and quantities of chemicals that are approved for purchase and use at the facility
  • Promote the use of less hazardous chemical alternatives
  • Track all chemicals purchased and used on-site

Assigning Responsibilities

The role and responsibilities of the chemical purchasing manager/supervisor should be clearly defined in your purchasing program to ensure proper oversight of any chemicals that are purchased and subsequently brought on-site. The chemical purchasing manager/supervisor and all other responsible staff should have the technical skills, education, and experience necessary to understand all legal and other requirements as outlined in the program.

Approved Chemical Suppliers

An important part of any chemicals purchasing program is ensuring chemicals are purchased from suppliers that are committed to responsible chemicals management practices (such as consistent quality of formulation and stewardship of manufacturing). A good practice is to Identify and create a list of approved chemical suppliers that can demonstrate through documented evidence (i.e. internal quality control procedures, certificates of analysis, provision of legally required documentation such as GHS compliant SDS, etc.) that have they have procedures in place and a commitment to ensuring chemicals are manufactured in a responsible manner.

When evaluating chemical suppliers, it is important to consider the following:

  • Does the supplier have an internal quality management system (e.g. ISO 9001)?
  • Does the supplier have a demonstrated environment management system (e.g. ISO 14001)?
  • Is the supplier willing to provide ongoing certificates of analysis for each chemical purchase?
  • Can the supplier provide MRSL compliance declarations with documented testing evidence?
  • Does the supplier provide a GHS compliant SDS for each chemical?
  • Does the emergency contact number on the supplied SDS direct you to the appropriate person/department within the company?
  • Is the supplier certified or approved by relevant third-party organizations (e.g. bluesign system partner)?

Approved Chemical List (Internal)

Another necessary element of a chemical purchasing program is to maintain an internal list of chemicals that have been pre-approved for regular purchase without additional review. This list should be up-to-date and referenced any time chemical purchasing requests are received. New or unapproved chemicals that are not on the approved chemical list must be reviewed and approved by the person(s) or department responsible for chemical purchasing.

Safer Chemical Alternatives

A good chemical purchasing policy will promote the selection and use of safer chemical alternatives. Chemical Alternatives Assessments should be conducted regularly to ensure the potential risks of chemicals selected for use are well understood and that chemicals with the lowest potential risks to human health and the environment are prioritized for selection and use.

Relevant Higg Index Facility Environment Module (FEM) 3.0 indicators:

Chemicals Management – Level 2: Questions 16 & 22

Chemical Purchasing Resources

Chemical Purchasing Program – Good Practices:

Chemical Purchasing Program Checklist

Sustainability Coordinator Job Description

ZDHC Chemical Gateway

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Yeah wrote: Jun 29, 2021

Really helpful


johfert Bristomm wrote: Nov 18, 2020

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