The Government of Sweden is to open a substitution centre that it says will help SMEs identify safer alternatives to hazardous substances, with a particular focus on textiles.
Located at the Research Institute of Sweden (RISE) in Borås, the centre will facilitate knowledge sharing between small and larger companies, industry associations, authorities and academia, ultimately helping their competitiveness and sustainable development.
Borås, in the southwest of Sweden, is a hub for textiles and hosts research centres and chemicals manufacturers. The new centre adds to work the government has already done in launching an initiative to improve sustainability in the textiles sector, part of which involves the use of safer alternatives. It is understood the substitution centre will have a particular focus on the textile sector.
By increasing knowledge of hazardous substances, the government is hoping the centre will contribute to increased substitution of these. In this way, it is hoped the facility will stimulate the development of sustainable chemical products and production processes, goods and non-chemical methods as well as a circular economy.
“A central part of the business will be an advisory service where, for example, industry, academia, industry organisations and strategic innovation programmes can get help,” says Pernilla Walkenström, head of life sciences and RISE materials. “Contracting authorities like municipalities and county councils may also need help in finding out if a product contains an unwanted chemical or has been manufactured using a process that has been used. In addition to this, communication and education will be central parts of the business.”
The Substitution centers will become part of the RISE Division Life Sciences and Materials.
It is understood the government is investing SEK7m (US$835,000) a year from 2018 to 2020. RISE will invest SEK5m annually. The long-term objective is for the centre to be self-financing through membership fees from participating companies.