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FMC’s Product Assessment Tool Provides a Comprehensive, Transparent Way to Evaluate Product Sustainability

With the global population expected to reach nearly 10 billion by 2050, it is vital to develop tools and strategies to safely feed people all around the world. FMC develops agricultural products used to control pests such as insects, weeds, bacteria, mold and fungi in global food production.

In order to meet the needs of growers for pest control options that are safe and sustainable, FMC developed its Product Stewardship and Sustainability Assessment Tool (PSSA) to assess and determine the sustainability of its active ingredients and products, from initial concept through each stage of development.

FMC Farm Tractor

The PSSA compares an active ingredient or formulated product to a benchmark active ingredient or product to determine a “sustainability matrix value,” based on stewardship and sustainability questions that consider the overall lifecycle of the product, including product hazards and environmental and human exposure.

Having committed 80 percent of its research and development budget to developing sustainable products by 2020, FMC uses this tool as part of its R&D process for new active ingredients, as well as to evaluate products currently on the market. This assessment, along with other stewardship processes and tools, helps ensure the introduction and continued use of environmentally sustainable agricultural solutions.

Furthermore, FMC evaluates the effectiveness of the PSSA annually to make sure the questions are clear, relevant and effective and that the benchmark of active ingredients and formulated products used for comparison are still relevant, with the goal of continually improving crop protection products in terms of worker/applicator safety, crop yields, process chemistry and environmental footprint.

In 2017, FMC completed a full analysis of its product portfolio to determine which ones may be classified as Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHPs), based on the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization criteria. After results indicated four active ingredients and several inert ingredients would be classified as HHPs, FMC determined it will phase out these active ingredients as it develops newer chemistries.

The PSSA incorporates local use risk assessments to evaluate if label instructions and guidance on use of personal protective equipment are adequate to mitigate risk from products containing these active ingredients. Further, FMC is undertaking an inert ingredient replacement program to help determine that no inert ingredients classified as HHPs will be used in future product formulations and has signed CropLife International’s declaration to not develop any future HHPs.

About the Author
American Chemistry Council

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) represents the leading companies engaged in the multibillion-dollar business of chemistry. ACC members apply the science of chemistry to make innovative products, technologies and services that make people's lives better, healthier and safer. ACC is committed to improved environmental, health, safety and security performance through Responsible Care®; common sense advocacy addressing major public policy issues; and health and environmental research and product testing. ACC members and chemistry companies are among the largest investors in research and development, and are advancing products, processes and technologies to address climate change, enhance air and water quality, and progress toward a more sustainable, circular economy.

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