Asahi Kasei has gradually decreased in performance over the years, slipping from a C- grade in 2020 to this year’s D+. Although no SIN List substances or persistent chemicals have been identified, a mere 14 per cent of the sold production is documented in EU/US markets, affecting transparency.
Asahi Kasei assesses “the environmental contribution of products,” considering climate, resources, biodiversity, and pollution prevention. This includes evaluating chemical substances from raw materials through usage and disposal. While the company actively promotes environmentally friendly materials, no safer alternative has been listed on ChemSec’s Marketplace. While the recycling of polyethylene is mentioned, clarity regarding the absence of hazardous chemicals is lacking. Asahi Kasei highlights “initiatives towards a circular economy” as a matter of utmost importance, yet it lacks key performance indicators and a well-defined circular path to provide a comprehensive understanding of their circular goals.
Opportunities for improvement
- Market safer alternatives
Asahi Kasei 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.
- Increase transparency
Much is still unknown about Asahi Kasei’s production of hazardous chemicals. At least when it comes to public information. In order to allow a comprehensive global evaluation, Asahi Kasei should disclose the share of revenue and production volume of hazardous chemicals (or products that contain them). This information should cover all operations globally. This is particularly important since only 14% of the company’s sales are in the EU/US, where some degree of chemical transparency exists.
- Prevent further controversies
Over the last five years, Asahi Kasei has been involved in incidents leading to several fatalities and the company should dramatically improve its Environment, Health and Safety strategy. This would help the company to better avoid incidents and make sure that controls – functioning even when human errors occur – are in place. If an accident or spill should happen, it is important that Asahi Kasei identifies the cause and publishes a document on strategies that will be implemented to avoid similar occurrences in the future. It is possible to prevent human suffering and environmental pollution when producing chemicals, but it requires a thorough Environment, Health and Safety system.