How MSDS Data Supports Sustainability: Sustainability Lecture by Actio

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What is a Material Safety Data Sheet or MSDS and how does it fit into Sustainability? Actio Corporation presented at the 3rd Annual Sustainability Fair north of Boston in historic Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and answered the question.

MSDS Data and Sustainability -- Actio Corp keynotes Boston Area Annual Sustainability Fair

Management of EH&S data is a key component of managing a product's supply network

Actio Corporation, the global provider of software for materials data management and environmental regulatory compliance, was pleased to be a featured presenter at this year’s Portsmouth Sustainability Fair Speaker Series. The Speaker Series was the first event at the 2010 Sustainability Fair. Actio’s Director of Communications led the presentation. The key question addressed was: how can MSDS information help with sustainability efforts?

CSR means Corporate Social Responsibility - it means companies having a conscience about their actions and the effects of those actions on the world at large. An MSDS is a Material Safety Data Sheet, which is exactly what it sounds like: a data sheet on material safety. An MSDS will tell you: if you have a can of paint, are the contents are flammable, toxic if swallowed, or dangerous if in contact with skin? Or can just the fumes be dangerous? What chemicals in the paint should not be swallowed or are otherwise flagged for safety by regulatory agencies?

MSDS data is a foundational component of a green product supply chain, according to recent writings from the major business analyst firms. Knowing what chemicals make up the ingredients of a product is already mandatory in Europe as part of stringent EU environmental law, and will become enforced law in the U.S. in the not-so-distant future. All major research firms have stated that if you want to use environmental compliance as a differentiator you need product supply chain visibility. The data in an MSDS is where visibility begins.

How MSDS Data Supports Sustainability

“Management of EH&S data is a key component of managing a product’s supply network,” said Russell McCann, President and CEO of Actio. “A software tool for MSDS management and distribution – such as MSDS Vault – tracks, consolidates, and measures substance-level data." This powerful visibility tool gets companies started on the path toward sustainability.

MSDS data is a cornerstone for achieving compliance with:

1. international, federal, state and local regulations
2. internal sustainability goals around chemicals of concern in the workplace, and
3. public and customer requirements

Actio’s Director of Corporate Communications, K.M. Hurley, manages a blog on environmental regulatory compliance. In the presentation at the Sustainability Fair, Hurley said, “By managing MSDS data in a rational manner, manufacturers are able to meet health, safety and environmental requirements as well as initiate substantial efforts towards making more sustainable choices.”

Hurley went on to demonstrate an MSDS. Using an MSDS for air fragrance, Hurley demonstrated how MSDS-given knowledge of product ingredients can engender a more sustainable workplace. The example used was a simple air freshener in public office space. Air fresheners can contain a cocktail of chemicals that are dangerous indoors, e.g., in public restrooms, especially if those restrooms are inadequately ventilated. “Luckily,” said Hurley, “an MSDS contains key information about a product,” said Hurley. “Imagine a fresh database of detailed substance-level information about the chemicals in products – whether you make those products or buy them and use them – then imagine you can consolidate that chemical data and view your chemical footprint across a department, location, or enterprise. You can see what chemical-substances you’re purchasing, what you’re using, what you’re emitting and what you’re disposing of. It’s very powerful for environmental purposes. Companies are looking into this now.”

All Actio solutions help companies toward Corporate Social Responsibility through innovative, collaborative, rational chemical handling, managing supply chain substance data, and streamlining material disclosure processes towards Six Sigma initiatives, mitigating risk and attaining corporate sustainability objectives.

The 2010 Portsmouth Sustainability Fair kicked off at 6:00 PM on Monday, 4/19/10. Stay tuned for details about the 2011 Agenda.

About Actio Corporation
Since 1996, Actio has been helping companies and their supply chain networks to cost-effectively manage the complexities surrounding environmental compliance and the exchange of parts, substances and chemicals along the global manufacturing supply chain. Actio’s supply chain materials information management solutions are delivered as SaaS and encourage a lean or “best practices” approach for analyzing and managing parts, substance and chemical information in today’s complex regulatory environment. Actio solutions track raw material and part composition for compliance with global regulations including: REACH, RoHS, WEEE. For more information about Actio Corporation, please visit


PR Contact:
Kathleen Hurley, Director, Corporate Communications

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