NOT CURRENT YEAR
With two additional points in this year’s ChemScore, Covestro receives a C grade and climbs four steps in the ranking to a tenth position. The company produces 27 hazardous substances, which is an increase from last year. Three of them are persistent. Covestro has found a way of capturing and using CO2 in raw materials, which gives it an additional point. However, it does not have a commitment to design-out hazardous substances in new products. Covestro is aiming at investing 1 billion euros into circular economy projects over a ten-year period. However, a lack of detail for these plans rewards them with only one point in the scoring. Two new notable controversies concerning Covestro have been registered in this year’s ChemScore, but it has not affected the overall score.
Opportunities for improvement
- Map and phase out persistent chemicals
Covestro produces or uses three persistent chemicals. These substances are also known as “forever chemicals” due to the fact that they do not break down in nature. Instead, these chemicals — which are linked to many negative health effects — build up over time. The consequences of these substances 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. The company should therefore make sure to identify all uses, and publish volumes and percentage of total revenue of its persistent substances. The company should also publish a time-bound phase-out plan of each persistent 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 Covestro has 27 hazardous chemicals in its product portfolio, a paramount improvement point for the company is to reduce this number. Covestro should therefore make sure to identify all uses, and publish volumes and percentages of the 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 substances, 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.
- Clear and timed plans for design- and phase-out
The large number of hazardous substances in Covestro’s product portfolio should be addressed by implementing plans for designing out hazardous substances from new products and phasing out hazardous substances from existing ones. The plans should be publicly announced and have a clear timetable that can easily be monitored.