Skip to Content



How to Use the Charter

The Louisville Charter for Safer Chemicals is not just a document, but a vision for change and a common policy platform for how to get there. It is only meaningful if community, worker, health, environmental, and justice organizations and leaders actively use the platform to campaign for changes.

From 2005 through 2020, many organizations, leaders, institutions, companies, and governments used the original Charter and associated policy recommendations to phase out harmful chemicals, reduce toxic pollution, and advance green chemistry. 





The Louisville Charter can be used:


Externally - to promote the Charter principles and policy recommendations as a roadmap for action by government officials  and corporate leaders, to which we will hold them accountable; 



Share the Charter with Elected Officials 

to encourage policy action, contact your elected officials.


Ask businesses to endorse the Charter

ask businesses to commit to safer chemical alternatives



Internally - to hold ourselves accountable to the Charter, and develop campaigns and solutions that truly reflect and work toward the Charter’s vision of systemic change that leaves no one behind.



Use our Checklist

a preliminary tool to check if your work aligns with the Charter 


Read the policy papers

detailed policy guidance from expert members of our network



 This checklist is intended as a tool to support alignment with our collective vision and principles as embodied in the Charter, and to avoid misalignment that can hold back our collective success. Importantly, in order to achieve the vision and intent of the Charter all the planks must be implemented collectively, not individually.

This checklist is not intended to be a complete guide to implementing the Louisville Charter. For more information, read our policy papers, which provide specific policy recommendations for each plank. This checklist is also included in our guide "Using the Charter to Create Change.


1. Address the Significant Impacts of Chemical Production and Use on Climate Change.

Guidance: We can't fix the chemical industry without stopping climate change, and we can't stop climate change without transforming the chemical industry. It is important to link chemicals and climate issues and solutions.

Questions to consider:

    • What are the links between the chemical policy issue you’re facing and climate change?
    • If you’re working on chemicals, are you including the need to address the climate impacts of chemical feedstocks, production, use, and disposal? 
    • If you’re working on climate, are you emphasizing the need to transform the chemical industry as an essential solution to climate change?
    • If you're working on the climate impacts of fossil fuels, are you including the environmental health and justice impacts caused by toxic fossil fuels and their derivative chemicals in communities of color, Tribes and Native/Indigenous communities, and low-income communities?
    • Do your proposed solutions help expose and address the interconnections between chemicals and climate change?
    • Are you supporting just and equitable solutions and avoiding false solutions that address the problem by shifting burdens to communities that are already disproportionately impacted


2. Prevent Disproportionate Exposures and Hazards, and Reduce Cumulative Impacts on Environmental Justice Communities.

Guidance: Environmental justice is central to achieving the goals and vision of the Charter. Building a collaboration or campaign that is not rooted in justice and equity fails to build a long-term, sustainable, winning movement around an issue and may further put vulnerable communities or workers at risk.

Questions to consider:

    • How do the proposed solutions to the chemical policy issue you’re facing advance environmental justice?
    • Are you adhering to the Principles of Environmental Justice and the Jemez Principles for Democratic Organizing? Doing so will help achieve your goals in a way that is inclusive and breaks down racial and economic injustices.
    • Are you adopting policies and practices that remedy the disproportionate chemical hazards and exposures faced by communities of color, Tribes and Native/Indigenous communities, and low-income communities? 
    • Are you addressing the burdens of multiple pollutants, multiple sources, and accumulation over time with vulnerabilities that exist in a community?
    • Does your solution relocate harm to another community or maintain disproportionate harm in existing communities?
    • Does your solution assist in ending discriminatory practices and policies that result in disproportionate and cumulative impacts in fenceline communities?
    • Are grassroots, fenceline and environmental justice communities at the table as you are conceptualizing, developing and advancing chemical policies at all levels?

3. Require Safer Substitutes and Solutions for a Non-Toxic Economy​.

Guidance:  In order to eliminate hazardous chemical use, production, and emissions, we must stop allowing replacement of toxic chemicals with other toxic or untested alternatives, and require alternatives that are demonstrably safer, especially for disproportionately impacted communities. 

Questions to consider:

    • How do your strategy and policy demands ensure substitution of hazardous chemicals with demonstrably safer alternatives?
    • Does the solution adhere with Green Chemistry Principles?
    • Are you ensuring that alternatives are safer for those disproportionately impacted across the chemical’s lifecycle?


4. Use Scientific Data to Support Health-Protective Policies and Practices.

Guidance:  The availability of credible, independent, and verifiable scientific data  is critical to inform policies that protect human health, especially vulnerable populations and the environment. We have enough scientific data to act now to phase out groups of harmful chemicals and expand protections.

Questions to consider:

    • In your campaign/issue, how can scientific data be applied to address classes of chemicals, and expand protections, especially for the most affected populations?
    • Is it required that the chemical manufacturer, importer, and/or business you are trying to change provide credible independent and verifiable scientific data? 
    • Is lack of data, inadequate data, or non-independent (i.e. industry) data being used as an excuse for not taking action?
    • How can available scientific data be used to support early action to identify and address potential hazards?


5. Take Urgent Action to Stop Production of and Recover Chemicals that are Unsafe and/or Accumulate in the Environment and People.

Guidance:  Prioritize chemicals and classes of chemicals that present immediate threats to health and the planet. 

Questions to consider:

    • Does the campaign you’re working on involve chemicals that are a threat to safety due to flammability or potential to explode; do not break down or are slow to degrade in the environment (persistent); accumulate in people and the food chain (bioaccumulative); are highly mobile in the environment and supplies; and/or contribute to climate change?
    • If so, then are you advocating for phasing it out, banning and/or recovering it from the environment?


6. Act with Foresight to Protect Health and Prevent Pollution​. 

Guidance:  Ensure that our efforts and recommendations prioritize prevention and acting on early warnings before harm has accumulated.

Questions to consider:

    • Is there already sufficient data that the chemical you are working on is potentially hazardous and/or harm is likely to occur?
    • Does your campaign limit or stop the manufacturing and use of chemicals in the market where scientific data shows harm to human health or the environment?
    • How does your campaign/issue identify environmental or health harms?  
    • Are you prioritizing pollution prevention? 


7. Take Immediate Action to Protect, Restore and Strengthen Communities. 

Guidance:  Ensure that when communities or workers are exposed to levels of chemicals that pose an imminent health or safety hazard, immediate action is taken to eliminate these exposures or risks. 

Questions to consider:

    • Does your campaign involve a community or workers that are exposed to levels of chemicals that pose an immediate health or safety hazard?
    • If your work is focused on products or retailers, are you including demands and solutions that will protect communities and workers exposed by manufacturing of the products or chemical ingredients?
    • What steps are being taken to ensure that communities and workers that have been harmed by chemical exposures, or that face ongoing legacy exposures, are fully restored and supported in their growth beyond restoration?


8. Ensure the Public and Workers Fully Have the Right-To-Know, Participate and Decide. 

Guidance:  Ensure that our solutions include meaningful involvement for the public and workers in decisions that impact their health, and model that involvement in our own work.

Questions to consider:

    • In your campaign/issue, how are you ensuring that the public and workers have the right-to-know, participate and decide in decisions that impact their health because of the potential harm from a toxic chemical?
    • How can barriers to public information and participation be eliminated?
    • Are we fully including affected workers and communities in our own planning and decision making?
    • Are the names and quantities of chemicals produced, used, stored, released, and/or exported publicly available?


9. Incentivize Responsible Business & Safer Chemicals.

Guidance:  Our efforts and solutions should prioritize and incentivize responsible business, oppose subsidies for companies and industries that harm health and the environment, and make businesses financially responsible for their harmful practices.

Questions to consider:

    • Does your campaign/issue aim to incentivize responsible business practices and safer chemicals and hold companies that continue to disproportionately pollute and produce harmful chemicals accountable?
    • Does the business you are incentivizing act responsibly by providing third party-verified safer and healthier chemicals, materials products and services?
    • How are you ensuring that they are not engaged in greenwashing?
    • Does the business your campaign targets engage in harmful practices which causes incredible damage to local, state and national economies? If so, how will you take action to hold them accountable and publicly highlight this harm?


10. Build an Equitable and Health-Based Sustainable Economy. 

Guidance:  Our solutions and efforts should help build an equitable, values-based economy that transitions us from short-term profit at all costs to one which advances a non-toxic and just economy.

Questions to consider:

    • Does your campaign take steps towards an equitable and health-based sustainable economy?
    • Are you centering the transition on the needs of small and medium enterprises, as well as supporting local economies?
    • Does the transition also equitably support communities of color, Tribes and Native/Indigenous communities, and low-income community-owned businesses?
    • Are you supporting corporate forms that value people over profit, provide opportunities for worker ownership, and help build the solidarity economy?
    • Are you supporting companies that provide livable wages and a just, inclusive and equitable workplace?