NOT CURRENT YEAR
Corteva is one point and five places down from last year, ending up with a D+. The company produces 11 hazardous substances, including one persistent chemical. This means that, compared to last year, Corteva has expanded its production of harmful chemicals and added a persistent one to the company’s portfolio. And the company doesn’t seem to be planning to phase any of them out anytime soon. Corteva’s “Predictive Safety Center” helps design crop protection products with environmental factors in mind, but hazard assessments are only partially done. The company’s sustainable pest management – using pheromones and bio-pesticides – sounds good and relevant, but only states what is possible and not what is actually done. In addition, Corteva’s recent history is riddled with controversies. The majority have to do with PFAS contamination of drinking water and the use of pesticides leading to negative health effects.
Opportunities for improvement
- Map and phase out persistent chemicals
Corteva produces one persistent chemical. Last year, the company produced zero. The consequences of these “forever chemicals” 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. Corteva should therefore make sure to identify all uses, and publish volumes and percentage of total revenue related to its persistent substance. The company should also publish a time-bound phase-out plan for the 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 Corteva has 11 hazardous chemicals in its production portfolio, a paramount improvement point for the company is to reduce this number. Corteva 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.
- Increase circularity
The chemical industry finds itself at the beginning of the value chain. Therefore, it has a responsibility to act fast and ambitiously against the ever-growing scarcity of our planet’s resources. But Corteva is one of 11 companies in this year’s ChemScore to receive zero points for circularity. The company should develop and present a strategy, which includes an activity plan, with time-bound targets and clear indicators for how to expand the area of circular products and processes.