The LICARA Innovation Scan

Innovative Materials: Risks and Solutions

Innovative materials and products often contain (novel) substances which can provide remarkable functionalities and performance but their potential risks to the human health and environment tend to be unforeseen. Many of such advantageous substances can be toxic. Thus, it is crucial to assess the safety and sustainability of such innovative materials and products in an early design phase to ensure their responsible development and deployment. One of the ideal ways to ensure this is through a Safe and Sustainable by design (SSbD) approach. However, one of the main challenges in the application of this approach is its application to the early innovation stages where limited material data and/or information is available. LICARA Innovation Scan is a useful online tool in this context which can quickly scan risks and benefits of innovative material with limited information or data and identifies early ‘red flags’ to alert the product developers of potential concerns.

Sustainable Design with LICARA Innovation Scan: Early Risk-Benefit Analysis

Safe and Sustainable by Design is a pre-market approach to chemicals and materials design that focuses on providing a function (or service), while avoiding volumes and chemical and material properties that may be harmful to human health or the environment, in particular groups of chemicals likely to be (eco)toxic, persistent, bio-accumulative or mobile. LICARA Innovation Scan can help implement this approach at early product design phase. It is a web-based tool that guides companies through their decision-making process for the sustainable development of new innovative products. It is a simple, yet effective, tool for a quick risk-benefit analysis over a product’s entire life cycle at an early innovation stage where limited information is available.

LICARA Innovation Scan uses the principles of Life Cycle Assessment, Risk Assessment and Multi-Criteria Decision Assessment to evaluate (i) product benefits in terms of its economic, environmental and social opportunities and (ii) specific risks for consumers, workers, the public and the environment.

The final outcome of product’s strengths and weaknesses includes uncertainties and knowledge gaps about the product development which supports product manufacturers and their stakeholders in their decision-making process.

The tool is available at

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Wouter Fransman
The Netherlands
Solution types
  • 2. T – Technical measurements
  • 3. O – Organizational measurements