NOT CURRENT YEAR

Grade C+
ChemScore report card 2020

AkzoNobel

AkzoNobel is a Dutch multinational company that offers paints and coatings. In 2018, the specialty chemicals sector was carved out from AkzoNobel as an independent company operating under the name of Nouryon. Amsterdam-based AkzoNobel has activities in more than 80 countries.
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Total score
24 / 48

Grade summary

AkzoNobel produces ten SIN List substances, four of which are officially recognised as chemicals of high concern by the EU. The company has a method in place to screen and assess the sustainability of its products and includes intrinsic hazards of ingredients in the screening process. It also has a timed phase-out strategy for hazardous substances. AkzoNobel follows several voluntary standards of good conduct, and has only been involved in one environmental violation over the last ten years, when the company was put under review to clean up cancer-causing pollution from a former production site.

Opportunities for improvement

  1. Reduce the amount of hazardous chemicals that the company produces. AkzoNobel has proactively phased out harmful substances in the past, but we would like to see the numbers decrease even further. Furthermore, the claims that hazardous chemicals are needed in order to produce certain environmentally preferable products must be backed up by transparency. How large a volume of those chemicals is needed? How can this volume be minimised? How are the products treated at end-of-life? And so on. These questions need to be answered.
  2. AkzoNobel uses its Priority Substance Program to identify and manage hazardous chemicals in order to reduce, restrict, and eventually phase them out. The company refers to phase-out deadlines, but these deadlines should be more clearly defined. Publicly announced phase-out plans with clear deadlines show determination and a serious will to move forward in a sustainable direction with safer alternatives.
  3. Market safer alternatives more openly. AkzoNobel develops products that are better in at least one environmental or health criterion than others on the market, and organises environment-focused start-up challenges. With strategies and processes like these already in place, AkzoNobel should be able to market less-toxic alternatives to a broader audience.

Category breakdown

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Product Portfolio
3 / 18

AkzoNobel produces ten SIN List substances, four of which are included on the REACH Candidate List and one of which is also found on the REACH Authorisation List. The company does not produce any persistent chemicals.

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Development of Safer Chemicals
8 / 12

AkzoNobel has a method in place to screen and assess the sustainability of its products and includes intrinsic hazards of ingredients in the screening process. The company uses the GreenScreen assessment tool but does not follow the principles of green chemistry. The Dutch company excludes substances with toxic properties from new products and actively markets safer alternatives on its website.

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Management & Transparency
7 / 12

AkzoNobel has a timed phase-out strategy for hazardous substances and shares chemical safety information on its website. The company is a member of Responsible Care and follows voluntary standards such as a Code of Conduct and a Supplier Code of Conduct.

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Lack of Controversies
6 / 6

In 2015, a former AkzoNobel site in New York was put under review to clean up cancer-causing pollution. AkzoNobel used the site from 1938 to the late 2000s for the manufacture of chemicals and, according to the State Department of Environmental Conservation, the amount of PCE and PCB found in the ground exceeds restricted residential standards. Between 2010 and 2019, AkzoNobel and its subsidiaries paid 18,200 USD in penalties for one environmental violation according to the violation tracker project of Good Jobs First.

Download detailed information on controversies (PDF, 106 KB)
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Overall rank
3 / 35
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Total score
24 / 48
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Product Portfolio
3 / 18
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Development of Safer Chemicals
8 / 12
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Management & Transparency
7 / 12
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Lack of Controversies
6 / 6
Download report
Other years
Year Rank Total score
2023 8 / 50 20 / 48
2022 11 / 54 18 / 48
2021 11 / 50 17 / 48
2020 3 / 35 24 / 48