NOT CURRENT YEAR
Arkema scores five points more than last year, earning the company an impressive climb in the ranking – from place 43 to 23. Even though Arkema is one of the few companies in ChemScore that reduced the number of persistent chemicals in its portfolio, it still produces a wide array of hazardous chemicals, including four persistent ones. Therefore, it receives zero points in the Product Portfolio category. The company explicitly claims to consider all hazardous substances – especially substances of very high concern – in its products and processes. It also produces circular products and bio-based resins, but provides no public statement about recycled materials being free from hazardous chemicals. The company lacks clear circular economy targets that enable the measuring of progress, as well as clear commitments to phase out any of its hazardous chemicals.
Opportunities for improvement
- Map and phase out persistent chemicals
Arkema produces four persistent chemicals. These substances are also known as “forever chemicals” due to the fact that they do not break down in nature. Instead, these chemicals — which are linked to many negative health effects — build up over time. The consequences of these substances are becoming increasingly detrimental, not only for human health and the environment but also for investors. Investors risk stranded assets now that the regulatory speed is accelerating, and are also exposed to significant liability risks since more chemical companies are being sued for contamination. Arkema should therefore make sure to identify all uses, and publish volumes and percentages of the total revenue of its persistent substances. The company should also publish a time-bound phase-out plan of each persistent chemical and an annual progression report to go with it.
- Reduce hazardous portfolio
Scientists agree that chemical pollution has crossed a planetary boundary and become an urgent global problem. This threatens the stability of global ecosystems upon which humanity depends, by damaging the biological and physical processes that underpin all life. Since Arkema has 38 hazardous chemicals in its product portfolio, a paramount improvement point for the company is to reduce this number. Arkema should therefore make sure to identify all uses, and publish volumes and percentage of total revenue of its hazardous substances. It should also publish a reduction road map of each hazardous chemical and an annual progression report. If the company continues to produce any hazardous substance, it needs to present a rationale for its essential use, motivate the production volume and state how much money it spends on research and development to find a safer alternative.
- Market safer alternatives
We did identify safer alternatives in Arkema’s product portfolio, but these are not marketed on any independent third-party platforms. Therefore, they are hard to find for downstream users looking to substitute hazardous chemicals. The company should start advertising its safer alternatives on third-party platforms, for example ChemSec’s Marketplace.