AGC makes its debut in this year’s ChemScore, positioning itself among the laggards. Sumitomo Chemical is the only Asian company performing worse. AGC falls within a group of ten companies scoring a zero in Category 1 due to its hazardous portfolio, producing 21 SIN List substances out of which 15 are persistent. In addition, information on chemical content is only available for the 29% of AGC’s production sold in the EU and US markets.
The company showcases some environmental efforts, such as hazard screenings, but the absence of a clear cut-off criteria for SVHCs in new products is notable. The company markets safer alternatives on their channels and offers products made from biobased waste resources.
While the company claims to have phased out well-known (and banned) toxicants asbestos and mercury, it’s essential to address concerns about PFAS and other hazardous substances in the product portfolio. AGC is also the only company where no Code of Conduct or Supplier Code of Conduct could be found.
Opportunities for improvement
- Map and phase out persistent chemicals
AGC produces or uses at least 15 persistent chemicals. These substances are known as “forever chemicals” due to the fact that they do not break down in nature. These chemicals — which are linked to many negative health effects — instead build up over time, creating consequences that are becoming increasingly detrimental. Not only for human health and the environment but also for investors. Companies reliant on such chemicals risk stranded assets now that the regulatory speed is accelerating. They are also exposed to significant liability risks since more chemical companies are being sued for contamination and bodily injury. AGC should therefore identify all uses, as well as publish the share of revenue and production volume of persistent chemicals (or products that contain them). The company should publish a time-bound phase-out plan for each persistent chemical and a realistic road map with clear KPIs to track progress.
- Reduce hazardous portfolio
Scientists agree that chemical pollution has crossed a planetary boundary and become an urgent global crisis, threatening both ecosystems and human health. Since AGC has 21 hazardous chemicals in its product portfolio, a key improvement point for the company is to reduce this number. AGC should therefore identify all uses, as well as publish the share of revenue and production volume of hazardous chemicals (or products that contain them). It should also publish a reduction road map of each hazardous chemical together with an annual progression report. Ideally, the company should commit to having a toxic-free product portfolio within the next decade. If the company decides to continue producing a hazardous substance, it needs to present a rationale for its essential use and prove that no feasible alternatives are available at present. In such a case, the company should also state the share of the R&D budget spent on finding a safer alternative for that particular substance.
- Market safer alternatives
AGC does not have any safer alternatives evaluated by independent third parties in its product portfolio. Safer alternatives replace the use of hazardous substances and are crucial in order to put an end to chemical pollution. The company should, therefore, start producing safer alternatives or market existing ones on an independent third-party platform. A good place to advertise is ChemSec’s Marketplace, where buyers and suppliers can find and market safer alternatives