Developing Guidance for Alternatives Assessment Workshop



The HESI Frameworks for Alternative Chemical Assessment and Selection of Safer, Sustainable Alternatives Subcommittee (a.k.a. Sustainable Alternatives Subcommittee) was initiated in 2011 as an Emerging Issues Subcommittee. Its mission is to evaluate and identify key elements/criteria and tools to help trigger and guide the selection of safer, sustainable alternatives while minimizing the likelihood of regrettable substitutions. The subcommittee is comprised of technical experts from academia, industry, non-profit organizations, and government and has been working towards holding a workshop to develop more detailed guidance for conducting alternatives assessments.   Results of the workshop and of the subcommittee will be submitted for publication in a peer reviewed journal.  

Workshop Purpose 

The purpose of the workshop was to bring together multi-stakeholder, multi-disciplinary expertise to develop practical, problem driven guidance on the conduct of  alternatives assessment.  To accomplish this, the subcommittee was divided into three subgroups to address three interrelated topics where clear challenges were previously identified.  The goal of each subgroup was to lead a multi-stakeholder discussion, that developed useful techniques and guidance documents to enhance existing alternatives assessment frameworks and to identify challenges where further work is needed.  The three subgroup topics were:
1)  Attributes and Tools
     •  Attributes beyond hazard that are also important, including life cycle assessment, exposure, risk,
         performance, cost and social responsibility
     •  New tools for prioritization and assessment of hazard, risk and other attributes
2)  Decision-making and Weighing 
     •  Making decisions with limited data and a minimum data set
     •  Best practices for weighing disparate attributes
3)  Data gaps
     •  What are the data gaps and data needs
     •  What are solutions for missing data

Workshop Outline

Feb. 7 morning: overview of the project/workshop, presentations by invited speakers
Feb. 7 afternoon: concurrent break-out discussion sessions for the 3 subgroups
Feb. 8 morning: concurrent break-out discussion sessions for the 3 subgroups
Feb. 8 afternoon: reports from break-out sessions, discussion, and next steps
Please click here to download the draft workshop agenda.


Who Should Attend

Workshop participation was by invitation-only and the workshop size is limited to 50.  We sought active participation by experts in alternatives assessment, specifically in the three topics described above.  The workshop was highly interactive with two half-day break-out sessions for discussions.  


Workshop Organizers

David Constable, Subgroup 3 Leader (Sustainability Foresights LLC)

Darlene Dixon (National Institute of Enviromental Health Sciences)

Royce Francis, Subgroup 2 Leader (George Washington University)

Derek Muir, Co-chair (Environment Canada)

Satinder Sarang, Subgroup 1 Leader (Shell)

Pam Spencer, Co-chair (Dow Chemical Company)

Jennifer Young (ILSI Health and Environmental Sciences Institute)

For additional information, contact Jennifer Young Tanir:; (202) 659-3306 x132.



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