NOT CURRENT YEAR

Grade D+
ChemScore report card 2021

Corteva

Corteva is a large American agricultural chemical and seed company that was the agricultural unit of DuPont prior to being spun off as an independent public company. Corteva became a public company on June 3, 2019, when DuPont distributed Corteva shares to its shareholders.
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Total score
10 / 48

Grade Summary

Corteva produces eight highly hazardous substances, three of which are included on the EU’s Reach Candidate List. This may not seem so bad compared to some of the other companies in the ranking, but it is still a portfolio full of problematic substances and a big reason behind Corteva’s poor score in the ranking. Also, there is no available data for the 40 percent of the company’s production that takes place outside of the EU and US. This low transparency is a big issue for investors, as it makes it hard to do a proper evaluation of the risks connected to the product portfolio. Another poor area for Corteva is the Lack of Controversies category, where the American company scores zero points due to several violations and huge penalty fines. In the remaining categories, the company’s performance is weak across the board.

Opportunities for improvement

  1. Several important chemical management topics are lacking. Does, for example, the product stewardship program of this agricultural spin-off from DuPont also assess intrinsic hazards of the product ingredients and is there a strategy to reduce them? A good start would be to phase out the two PIC substances that Corteva still offers. PIC, short for Prior Informed Consent, is one of the key provisions of the Rotterdam Convention, allowing the export of – often domestically restricted – hazardous chemicals to poorer countries with weaker chemical legislation, as long as the receiving country signs a consent that it understands what it is accepting and has a plan for how to handle it.
  2. Corteva mentions a circular economy approach when it comes to their packaging. We would like to see much more from the company regarding a circular core business strategy, including closing nutrient loops, reducing negative discharges into the environment and using agricultural food waste as feedstock. There is a lot of potential here to gain acknowledgement.
  3. As a brand new company, founded in 2019, Corteva struggles with litigations that it inherited from former DuPont facilities, now Corteva facilities. The company should use the new branding to overhaul safety measures and train its employees accordingly.

Category breakdown

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Product Portfolio
5 / 18

Corteva produces/uses 8 highly hazardous substances – 6 SIN List chemicals, 2 PICs, and 4 HHPs – 3 of which are included on the EU’s REACH Candidate List. None of these highly hazardous substances are either banned or severely restricted, with set dates when production needs to cease (no Authorisation List substances, and no POPs). The company produces no persistent chemicals.

Please note that there is no available data for the 40 percent 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.

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Development of Safer Chemicals
2 / 12

Corteva has a method in place to screen and assess the sustainability of its products, but does not include the intrinsic hazards of ingredients in the screening process. It does not exclude substances with toxic properties from its new products. Corteva actively markets safer alternatives on its own website, but not on ChemSec Marketplace. The company has no true circular product, process or innovation. Corteva does not use bio-based resources. Nor does it source or treat recycled materials in a sustainable way, which is one of the key elements of a circular economy. Corteva is not actively reducing the hazardous waste it generates.

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Management & Transparency
3 / 12

The American 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, however, chemical safety information on its website and is following a credible code of conduct standard. Corteva 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). Corteva does not have a circular economy program in place, and it is lacking objective and measurable circular economy targets.

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Lack of Controversies
0 / 6

Between 2011 and 2020, Corteva paid 3,839,956 USD in fines for 8 environmental violations according to the violation tracker project of Good Jobs First. Several of the lawsuits against Corteva concerns incidents that happened before the company was founded as a spin off from DuPont. The most significant incident occurred in 2014 when four workers were fatally injured. The company consequently paid 3.195 million USD to settle alleged violations of federal pollution control laws.

Download Controversies Corteva (PDF, 109 KB)
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Overall rank
37 / 50
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Total score
10 / 48
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Product Portfolio
5 / 18
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Development of Safer Chemicals
2 / 12
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Management & Transparency
3 / 12
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Lack of Controversies
0 / 6
Download report
Other years
Year Rank Total score
2023 41 / 50 9 / 48
2022 42 / 54 9 / 48
2021 37 / 50 10 / 48