Chemours enters the ChemScore ranking for the first time and finds itself in the bottom four. Known as the company where DuPont transferred a significant portion of its hazardous chemicals, Chemours starts with room for improvement. In relation to the company size, Chemours possesses a high number of hazardous substances, with 80 SIN substances, out of which 69 are persistent chemicals. The company has the highest hazard rating by far. The company with the second-highest hazard rating has a score one-third of that of Chemours.
The company employs a product sustainability risk assessment to evaluate the health and safety impacts of its product portfolio. However, the lack of clear designing and phasing-out strategies is concerning, particularly given the company’s extensive use of hazardous and persistent chemicals. Chemours also claims that products based on PFAS technology are sustainable, a notion that contradicts our view that products containing PFAS cannot be considered sustainable. As for controversies, Chemours is currently entangled in numerous litigations and legal disputes related to its PFAS production.
Opportunities for improvement
- Map and phase out persistent chemicals
Chemours produces or uses at least 69 persistent chemicals. These substances are known as “forever chemicals” due to the fact that they do not break down in nature. These chemicals — which are linked to many negative health effects — instead build up over time, creating consequences that are becoming increasingly detrimental. Not only for human health and the environment but also for investors. Companies reliant on such chemicals risk stranded assets now that the regulatory speed is accelerating. They are also exposed to significant liability risks since more chemical companies are being sued for contamination and bodily injury. Chemours should therefore identify all uses, as well as publish the share of revenue and production volume of persistent chemicals (or products that contain them). The company should publish a time-bound phase-out plan for each persistent chemical and a realistic road map with clear KPIs to track progress.
- Reduce hazardous portfolio
Scientists agree that chemical pollution has crossed a planetary boundary and become an urgent global crisis, threatening both ecosystems and human health. Since Chemours has 80 hazardous chemicals in its product portfolio, a key improvement point for the company is to reduce this number. Chemours should therefore identify all uses, as well as publish the share of revenue and production volume of hazardous chemicals (or products that contain them). It should also publish a reduction road map of each hazardous chemical together with an annual progression report. Ideally, the company should commit to having a toxic-free product portfolio within the next decade. If the company decides to continue producing a hazardous substance, it needs to present a rationale for its essential use and prove that no feasible alternatives are available at present. In such a case, the company should also state the share of the R&D budget spent on finding a safer alternative for that particular substance.
- Increase circularity
The chemical industry finds itself at the beginning of the value chain. Therefore, it has a responsibility to act fast against the ever-growing scarcity of our planet’s resources. However, Chemours receives zero points for circularity since we were unable to identify any circular products, processes or strategies. Nor did we see a decrease in hazardous waste or increased use of recycled hazard-free feedstock or biobased material. Chemours should start by identifying its current production and use of circular products and processes, and then specify the share of revenue that is derived from such products. The company should also develop and present a circularity strategy, including a commitment to increase the share of revenue derived from circular products.