Corteva’s score has remained consistent during the last three years, always earning a D+ grade. Corteva produces 14 SIN substances, an increase of three from the previous year. Six of these chemicals are persistent. Less than half of its sold products are registered in EU/US markets, which affects the company’s transparency score.
Corteva states that new products must meet the company’s sustainability criteria by 2025. However, these criteria are vaguely described, making it challenging to assess their effectiveness. Moreover, the lack of information regarding hazard screening is a concern. Corteva is one out of only eight companies in ChemScore to lack such information.
Circular processes and the use of biobased material have been detected, but not recycled feedstock. Additionally, Corteva’s hazardous waste has increased. The company markets sustainable products and claims to align them with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It does not, however, list any of those products on ChemSec’s Marketplace.
Opportunities for improvement
- Map and phase out persistent chemicals
Corteva produces or uses at least six 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. Corteva 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 Corteva has 14 hazardous chemicals in its product portfolio, a key improvement point for the company is to reduce this number. Corteva 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.
- Market safer alternatives
Corteva 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.