DIC’s performance in the ChemScore ranking remains relatively consistent with previous years, landing a D grade with eight points. DIC’s portfolio includes 20 SIN substances, an increase of three from the previous year, as well as five persistent chemicals, which are also up by three. Only about one-fifth of the company’s sold production is registered in EU/US markets, affecting transparency.
The company continuously conducts environmental assessments and has described its chemical management system more clearly this year to address regulations and environmental initiatives concerning chemical substances. It promotes eco-friendly product lines in packaging and films but does not market them on ChemSec’s Marketplace. However, no public design-out or phase-out plans are available, and only generic statements about eliminating substances of high concern specified in regulations are provided. The company does, however, demonstrate a commitment to a circular economy by considering product design from the outset.
Opportunities for improvement
- Map and phase out persistent chemicals
DIC produces or uses at least five 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. DIC 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 DIC has 20 hazardous chemicals in its product portfolio, a key improvement point for the company is to reduce this number. DIC 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
DIC 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.