Early recognition of the Precautionary Principle has for many years influenced our approach to hazardous materials. This in turn has improved our risk management and reduced unnecessary exposure of our workforce and the general public to materials that in the future may be banned or less favored.
Since the late 1990s Skanska has been committed to finding ways to phase out hazardous materials in markets where technically viable alternatives are available in commercial quantities. In Sweden in the early 2000s we led the development of a voluntary hazard database (BASTA) containing information on over 7,000 locally supplied building materials. Our work on hazardous materials continues today at Business Unit level and through the work of our network of senior Environmental Management (Expert Group EPN). Procurement teams are involved in new sourcing strategies to eventually reduce or totally eliminate hazardous materials, even when legal.
Our Restricted Substances List focuses on two families of materials with known human and/or environmental toxicity concerns – certain man-made chemicals and several groups of heavy metals.
An example is the decision in 2000 by our Nordic commercial development unit (CDN) to voluntarily phase-out PVC pipes and cables. This was done to avoid the risk of hydrochloric acid generation should a building catch fire since renovation costs are known to be higher where PVC is used.
As a result of this and other actions to avoid hazardous materials, today circa 90% of CDN buildings including 100% of its offices are halogen-free. This was done despite higher cost - up to 5x higher for some products - and higher installation costs in the early years. Today more sophisticated clients recognise our leadership and have followed suit. Read more in the sustainability project case study from Green Tower Office Centre, Gårda, Sweden.
Skanska part of ChemSec business group
Skanska AB has been an active supporter of the NGO ChemSec (Chemical Secretariat) since 2004 and its campaign regarding the EU REACH Regulation. We support the ChemSec "Substitute It Now" (S.I.N) List and took part in its launch in Brussels in September 2008 and continues to be actively involved in their Business Group. For more details, use the links to ChemSec website to the right.