Students surveyed impacts of REACH application process

06.09.2017

The report drawn up for the European Chemicals Agency was presented in an international conference in Prague.

In a project organised by the Customized Business Projects programme of the School of Business, students examined what kind of impacts the application process under the REACH regulation had on the daily operation and economy of Finnish companies. The study was conducted on behalf of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA).

In 2007, the European Parliament and the Council of Europe put into effect REACH, a regulation on the registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals. Its objectives include ensuring a high level of health and environmental protection and boosting the competitiveness of the chemical industry in the EU.  With the regulation, responsibility was transferred from the authorities to industry.

Atte Harrikari and Riku Montonen, students at the School of Chemical Engineering, were commissioned by ECHA to survey the impacts of the authorization process with regard to Finnish companies. The students analysed what kind of impacts the process of applying for authorisation had on the use of chemicals that would need a licence in the near future and what kind of possible financial benefits this opened up for companies.

Results presented at REACH conference in Prague

ECHA already had its own predictions for the results but, by sending the students from Aalto University to carry out the interviews, it also wanted to create a more neutral situation for the discussion and to obtain possibly different answers from the companies’ representatives. The application process is not meant to be a nuisance, and therefore the agency strives to constantly improve the process so that the objectives of REACH could be achieved as easily as possible.

During a few months, the Harrikari and Montonen visited a total of 14 companies across Finland, interviewing their representatives, and used the results to compile a report, which was published on ECHA’s website in spring 2017. Visits to the workshops of micro-enterprises closely related to their own studies and to the headquarters of globally operating companies gave both students a totally new understanding of the challenges facing businesses.

In addition, the students also gave a presentation on their results to about 70 experts in a REACH conference in Prague, which gave them a good opportunity to also network with the professionals of their field from other countries. The students were extremely satisfied with the opportunities provided by the project. Doctoral candidate Sami Tuomi from the School of Chemical Engineering was responsible for the guidance provided to the students.

Photos from the conference

Through the Customized Business Projects concept managed by the School of Business, students carry out genuine research, development and consulting projects for companies and organisations.

More information:
Tommi Vihervaara, Project Specialist
+358 50 3837388
tommi.vihervaara@aalto.fi