Product lifecycle management

We believe that our products shouldn't have adverse effects on health or the environment and that product lifecycle management (or product stewardship) is an important aspect of our wider sustainability goals.

This involves an integrated approach to products, materials and services management designed to assess objectively and then minimise or eliminate the environmental and health related impacts of products.

Our approach

As part of our commitment to sustainability, we fully acknowledge that all the chemicals we use and produce must be managed responsibly. 

The products we sell to our customers often form an important part of the end product supplied to the user – a JM emission control catalyst being an important part of a car, for example. And while we do not manufacture the end product itself, we are concerned with the whole life of the JM product within it, with our responsibilities extending far downstream of our own operations.

This ‘whole life’ responsibility is what we call product lifecycle management. We set ourselves high standards; customers want to see evidence that we understand any hazards inherent in our products and that, through understanding their uses, we can, in turn, help them manage any consequent risks. Equally, our other external stakeholders want assurance that the potential impacts – on the environment, our employees and downstream users – are well managed.

As part of our work on product lifecycle management, we have three current areas of focus:

1) Active horizon scanning

This identifies proposed regulatory developments that could impact our sites and products and the raw materials we use.

2) Identifying new regulatory pressures early on

This links to our first area of focus. It’s important to identify new regulatory pressures for our customers that our existing or new technologies may be able to overcome.

3) ‘High hazard’ substances

This means understanding chemicals with significant potential to harm human health or the environment and how we ensure appropriate investment in researching less hazardous alternatives.

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We have a long-standing commitment to product safety and conduct systematic and rigorous evaluations of both new and existing products.

Our product lifecycle management is implemented through well established systems to ensure the sound management of our products throughout their lifecycle. Plus, we have groupwide policies and guidance which align our approach with the global framework set by the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) to promote chemical safety around the world.

The procedures we have in place at group and sector level identify regulatory obligations, both future and current, and create the documentation necessary to ensure compliance.

Our systems focus on the characterisation of any risks associated with product use, a thorough determination of related risk management measures and mechanisms to effectively communicate this information outside the company.

We work in cooperation with industry partners and customers, regulators and non-governmental organisations to strengthen confidence in our products.

A systematic product responsibility reporting scheme is used to monitor the performance of our operations and maintain surveillance of company products. We report on our performance each year in our Annual Report.

Johnson Matthey's businesses have management systems in place which assess the health and safety impacts of products during their various lifecycle stages. This includes coverage of:

  • The product concept and research and development stage. This activity is undertaken centrally or by businesses as appropriate
  • Manufacturing and production
  • Storage, distribution, and supply into markets
  • The in-use service life phase
  • The end of life or re-use phase.

The group's product sustainability programmes are particularly focused on the selection of substances with superior profiles in terms of their potential impact on human health and the environment.

Johnson Matthey has aligned its operating practices with the principles of Responsible Care® (as defined in the Global Charter developed by the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA) and with sustainable development goals and guiding principles (for example those outlined by the Chemical Industries Association (CIA) in its 'Chemistry of Sustainability' report).

Responsible Care® is a voluntary programme in which companies commit to continuously improving their environmental, health and safety performance. It places particular emphasis on product stewardship and sustainability, and communication with stakeholders about their products and processes.

In common with all companies developing and marketing chemical substances, Johnson Matthey must comply with international legislation to make toxicity information available to assure product safety for humans, wildlife and the environment. We are committed to ethical principles of animal protection and our corporate policy is based on the following principles:

  1. Johnson Matthey has embraced the '3Rs' approach in relying on properly validated alternative methods which reduce, refine or replace the use of animal testing. Therefore we now place emphasis firstly on applying the latest integrated testing strategies (e.g. in vitro assays, computer modelling of effects and in vivo test waiving approaches). New techniques are continually tracked and implemented as they become endorsed by regulatory bodies.
  2. If, after confirming that suitable data does not already exist, in vivo studies are unavoidable, we always seek to limit new testing and avoid unnecessary studies by undertaking collaborative work with industrial partners.
  3. It is ensured that any studies comply with all applicable laws, regulations, licensing and welfare codes.
  4. Johnson Matthey only uses fully accredited contract research organisations and does not undertake any in house toxicity testing.
  5. As a fundamental operating principle, our oversight procedures require that our businesses commission no vertebrate animal studies until a justification has been carefully considered and approved at group level.

The group does not manufacture any cosmetics or consumer goods and testing is therefore aligned to regulatory requirements for industrial substances. Any testing required as a result of registration requirements imposed under the EU REACH regulation is minimised by working within industry consortia.

Johnson Matthey shares current societal and political concern over animal testing and we only commission studies when mandated by law and if no alternatives exist.

We remain optimistic that advances in toxicology science will enable us to further reduce in vivo testing while continuing to safeguard human health and the environment.