At Toxnot, we are constantly looking across industries for areas where we can use our software capabilities to improve sustainability. The supply chain data exchange stood out as an area of inefficiency and wasted potential. To scale supply chain efforts, we have invested in a free tool called the Toxnot Exchange.
Why we created the Toxnot Exchange
Throughout our five years as a supply chain management platform, the biggest issue we’ve observed is that manufacturers have trouble acquiring ingredient data or Full Material Disclosure (FMD). Although there are a variety of reasons why, two major blockers are that supply chain partners either don’t want to share because of IP or they simply don’t know all the ingredients in their products. As consumers, this is a pretty scary thought. Although you might not have pondered what chemicals are in your coffee cup, don’t you expect the person making it to?
Part of the complexity of the problem lies in the number of people involved in making any given product. Take your work desk as an example… The retailer you bought it from is just the last stop in a long line of processors since the desk was a raw material. Is the tabletop 100% wood? Most probably not, it’s probably made of fillers, dyes, and stains too. The legs probably came from an entirely separate supplier. What about the screws?
Some manufacturers might have between 5 and 30 suppliers providing different components for just one product. Each of those suppliers might each have a sub-supplier who then has another sub-supplier... You get the idea. In short, that’s a lot of people to track down to get a product’s Full Material Disclosure. Even worse, those sub-suppliers have no incentives to find or share the relevant information.
What is the Toxnot Exchange?
The Toxnot Exchange is designed to create tools and incentives for suppliers to share information. A primary reason suppliers are unwilling to share ingredient data is because their formulation is a trade secret. On the Toxnot Exchange, you can create a Passport that hosts full material disclosure while being able to mark substances as proprietary, because the hazard data will still be shared in the Toxnot Exchange. When it is shared with a supply chain partner, they’ll have the ability to screen that product against regulatory lists or submit sustainability reports without knowing the exact chemical registry numbers. This allows the supplier to maintain discretion while facilitating healthy material management. Once that Product Passport is published, it can be passed and shared up and down the supply chain.
If a supplier wants to share ingredient data but is worried about a competitor knowing their formulation, they can create a ‘restricted’ passport. The product name and image will be visible on the supplier’s company page but nothing else. If a customer wants access to the details in the Passport, they can Request Access. The supplier then shares the information by entering an email address. This alleviates the supplier’s burden of repetitively uploading and sharing information while still protecting their privacy. It also facilitates a fast exchange - which will be a relief to most people familiar with this process.
Our vision is that the Toxnot Exchange will become a building block to the circular economy. By protecting suppliers, the Exchange serves as a standardized and comprehensive place to manage, share and find supply chain data. Furthermore, it’s not an exclusive platform. Toxnot will be the place where you can manage your data before connecting it to any other platform such as the HPDC Builder, Mindful Materials, your own website and more.