NOT CURRENT YEAR

Grade C-
ChemScore report card 2020

Bayer

Bayer produces and markets healthcare and agricultural products. In 2018, the German conglomerate bought the agribusiness giant Monsanto. Bayer manufactures products that include pharmaceuticals, diagnostics, and animal health products, as well as crop protection products, plastics, and polyurethanes.
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Total score
14 / 48

Grade summary

Bayer produces nine SIN List substances (including two persistent chemicals), five 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 does not, however, have a phase-out strategy for hazardous substances. Even though Bayer follows several voluntary standards of good conduct, the company has been involved in numerous controversies over the last ten years, most notably the court cases surrounding its glyphosate-based Roundup weed killer.

Opportunities for improvement

  1. The company should publicly commit to phase out hazardous chemicals before safer alternatives or solutions are found. Publicly announced phase-out plans with clear deadlines show determination and a serious will to move forward in a sustainable direction with safer alternatives. The first harmful chemicals to go should be the company’s two persistent chemicals.
  2. In Bayer’s sustainability reporting, there is no mentioning of negative environmental and human health effects. Without describing the toxicity of products or mentioning their environmental consequences, the wording in Bayer’s sustainability report is not trustworthy. The company should act responsibly and be more transparent on their challenges.
  3. As hazards are not covered in the company’s sustainability report, less-toxic alternatives are not mentioned either. Bayer should walk their sustainability talk and develop and offer eco-friendly products, avoiding hazardous chemicals right from the design phase.

Category breakdown

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Product Portfolio
6 / 18

Bayer produces nine SIN List substances, five of which are included on the REACH Candidate List and one of which is also found on the REACH Authorisation List. The German company produces two persistent chemicals. Persistent chemicals are particularly problematic since they do not break down, but instead accumulate in humans and/or the environment. Because of this, persistent chemicals should be of extra concern for investors. Substances which are not considered a problem today could become huge liabilities in the future.

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Development of Safer Chemicals
3 / 12

Bayer 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 does not make use of the GreenScreen assessment tool nor does it exclude substances with toxic properties from new products. The company does not follow the principles of green chemistry or market safer alternatives on its website.

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Management & Transparency
5 / 12

The German company shares chemical safety information on its website but does not have a phase-out strategy for hazardous substances. Bayer 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
0 / 6

The company has been featured heavily in the news media in recent years and has lost many court cases due to cancer and other health-related injuries caused by the chemicals it manufactures, most notably its glyphosate-based Roundup weed killer. The largest US jury verdict to date against the company was passed on 13 May 2019, when a California jury awarded 2 billion USD in punitive damages and 55 million USD in compensatory damages to a couple who claimed Bayer’s Roundup weed killer caused their cancer. Between 2010 and 2019, Bayer and its subsidiaries have paid almost 30 million USD in penalties for 21 environmental violations according to the violation tracker project of Good Jobs First.

Download detailed information on controversies (PDF, 122 KB)
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Overall rank
14 / 35
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Total score
14 / 48
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Product Portfolio
6 / 18
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Development of Safer Chemicals
3 / 12
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Management & Transparency
5 / 12
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Lack of Controversies
0 / 6
Download report
Other years
Year Rank Total score
2023 23 / 50 14 / 48
2022 39 / 54 10 / 48
2021 35 / 50 11 / 48
2020 14 / 35 14 / 48