NOT CURRENT YEAR
Air Liquide produces one hazardous chemical – not included on the EU’s REACH Candidate List – and no persistent chemicals. Despite this relatively low number, the company is only awarded nine out of a maximum 18 points in the Product Portfolio category. This is because there is no available data for the 47 percent of the company’s production taking place outside of the EU and US. Like all companies in the ranking, Air Liquide has been encouraged to share information about its production, but has declined. In the other categories, the company places itself very much in the middle. It does not really excel in anything, but it is not among the worst performers either. One area where Air Liquide does perform poorly is the Lack of Controversies category, where the French company scores 0 points, due to fatal accidents and huge penalty fines.
Opportunities for improvement
- Air Liquide receives no points in the controversy section, having lethal accidents in its track record over the past decade. Compared to its competitors Linde (awarded six points in the controversy category) and Air Products (awarded three points), Air Liquide has not only had more incidents, but also more severe. Physical safety measures need to be strict for gas companies, since gases are more difficult to handle than liquids. Safety measures and on-site training must be accelerated for Air Liquide to be able to reduce the number and severity of accidents. Also, the company’s environmental violation fines amount to 7 million USD, compared to only 0,5 million USD for its peers.
- All companies looking to be profitable in the future need to think of how they can become more circular, and Air Liquide is no exception. We would like to see a clear circular strategy and SMART targets from the company.
- We lack information about Air Liquide’s work on screening and assessing intrinsic hazards of the ingredients it’s using. The general information on hazards on the website should be accompanied by details about the company’s chemical management strategies, including designing- and phasing out of hazardous substances.
Air Liquide produce/use 1 highly hazardous substance – 1 SIN List chemicals (no PICs and no HHPs) – which is not included on the EU’s REACH Candidate List. This highly hazardous substances are neither banned or restricted (no Authorisation List substances, and no POPs). The company produces no persistent chemicals.
Please note that there is no available data for the 47 percent of the company’s production that takes place outside of the EU and US. Lower EU/US production means higher uncertainty with regard to the total production of hazardous chemicals, which will have a negative impact on the company’s score in this category.
Air Liquide has a method in place to screen and assess the sustainability of its products, and includes the intrinsic hazards of ingredients in the screening process. However, it does not exclude substances with toxic properties from its new products. Air Liquide actively markets safer alternatives on its own website, but not on ChemSec Marketplace. The company has not any true circular products, processes or innovations. Air Liquide uses biobased resources without occupying extra land or competing with food production. It does not source and treat recycled materials in a sustainable way, which is one of the key elements of a circular economy. AirLiquide is actively reducing the hazardous waste it generates.
The French company does not produce only sustainable products, and it does not have a timed phase-out strategy for hazardous substances that go beyond regulatory compliance. It shares chemical safety information on its website and is following a credible code of conduct standard. Air Liquide responded to ChemSec’s attempts to communicate around its ChemScore ranking, but does not share any information about what kind of chemicals it produces in regions with low regulatory demands for transparency (e.g. Asia). Air Liquide does not have a circular economy program in place, thus lacking objective and measurable circular economy targets.
Between 2011 and 2020 Air Liquide has paid over 7.5 million USD in penalties for 17 environmental violations according to the violation tracker project of Good Jobs First. Most of the controversies are related to fire incidents and explosions. However, the biggest penalty was issued to one of Air Liquide’s subsidiaries, Airgas Doral, for exposing three stevedores to argon gas. For this incident, the company had to pay a total fine of 7 million USD.Download Controversies Air Liquide (PDF, 127 KB)