Akzo Nobel has taken one of the biggest plunges in the ChemScore ranking compared to last year, second only to Linde and on par with LG Chem. The company scores seven points less this year, pushing its grade…
Akzo Nobel produces/uses 18 highly hazardous substances – 17 SIN List chemicals, 1 PIC, and 2 HHPs – 5 of which are included on the EU’s REACH Candidate List. 1 of these highly hazardous substances is either banned or severely restricted, with a set date when production must cease (1 Authorisation List substances, and no POPs). The company produces 2 persistent chemicals. Persistent chemicals are particularly problematic, since they do not break down, but instead accumulate in humans and the environment. Because of this, persistent chemicals should be of extra concern for investors; substances that are not considered a problem today could become huge liabilities in the future.
Please note that there is no available data for the 42 % 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.
Akzo Nobel 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. It does not, however, exclude substances with toxic properties from its new products. Akzo Nobel actively markets safer alternatives on its own website, but not on ChemSec Marketplace. The company has no true circular product, process or innovation. Akzo Nobel uses bio-based resources, but at the expense of occupying extra land or in competition with food production. It sources and treats recycled materials in a sustainable way, which is one of the key elements of a circular economy. Akzo Nobel is actively reducing the hazardous waste it generates.
The Dutch 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. Akzo Nobel responded to ChemSec’s attempts to communicate around its ChemScore ranking. However, the company does not share any information about what kind of chemicals it produces in regions with low regulatory demands for transparency (e.g. Asia). Akzo Nobel does have a circular economy program in place, but it is lacking objective and measurable circular economy targets.