Safe and Sustainable by Design

What is SSbD


In line with the objectives of the European Green Deal, SSbD is a systemic approach to integrate safety, sustainability and functionality of products and processes throughout their life cycle, from design to end-of-life, with a view to reuse and recycling (circularity).
It is proposed as an approach to R&I and product development that brings economic, environmental and social value for the benefit of society and business, supporting the ambitious goals of the strategy, including zero pollution for a toxic-free environment.

Timeline of relevant concepts for the SSbD

  • 1967Safety of chemicals

    EU legislation "Dangerous Substances Directive" (DSD)
  • 1972Sustainability

    Club's of Rome report "Limits to Growth"
  • 1987Sustainability

    Publication of "Our Common Future", also known as the "Brundtland Report"
  • 1998Green Chemistry

    12 Principles
  • 2003Green Engineering

    12 Principles
  • 2015Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

    Adopted by all United Nations Member States
  • 2022"Safe and Sustainable by Design"

    Annunciation of SSbD framework

Expected operational benefits include, in addition to safety and sustainability, a better cost-effectiveness of the innovation process and greater compliance with current and future regulatory requirements (and thus shorter time-to-market).

SSbD requires continuous and careful analysis of all stages of product development.
The requirements of safety, circularity and sustainability must be considered from the earliest design stages, evaluating possible material development and engineering options. The description and preliminary assessment of potential impacts must be introduced already at the prototype level, in order to guide product development towards their minimisation. Sustainability, safety and performance of manufactured products must be evaluated according to recognised criteria, and the results used to optimise production, use and end-of-life phases.


Hierarchical principles underpinning the SSbD framework suggested.

Support for the user

To help users apply the SSbD framework in practice:

  1. The JRC has published a Methodological Guidance that provides practical suggestions on the most commonly encountered issues when applying the framework.
  2. the Partnership for the Assessment of Risks from Chemicals (PARC) has developed a toolbox that provides an overview of existing tools for each step of the framework.

Timeline of the SSbD framework

  • May - June 2023Feedback collection

  • Winter 2023Workshop on collected feedback

  • Spring 2024Guidance report v1

  • May - August 2024Feedback collection

  • Autumn 2024Workshop on collected feedback

  • Winter 2024Guidance report v2

  • 2025Revision of framework