Over the span of four years, from 2020 to the present, DuPont’s sustainability performance has shown limited progress. Starting with a score of 12 points, they now stand at 0, resulting in an F rating due to challenges related to transparency. Only nine per cent of its sold production is publicly known as the US market remains obscured by CBI claims. DuPont’s practice of classifying nearly all substances as confidential is notable. While this may be consistent with legal reporting requirements, it sets them apart from other companies in ChemScore, which tend to favour more transparent approaches. Out of the known production, the company produces 28 SIN List substances, showing no change from the previous year. It also produces five persistent chemicals, compared to three last year.
In conclusion, DuPont’s sustainability journey over the past four years has shown limited progress, resulting in a score of 0 and an F rating due to challenges related to transparency. Without significant improvements, DuPont’s standing in sustainability remains a work in progress.
Opportunities for improvement
- Increase transparency
DuPont has classified all but one of the substances it manufactures in the United States as Confidential Business Information (CBI) under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). According to the 2016 Consumer Data Right (CDR) registry, DuPont had notified 164 distinct substances. Since then, due to mergers and splits, some production of hazardous chemicals may have shifted to other entities. However, we remain unconvinced that DuPont has ceased production of all but one of these substances, as many continue to be marketed in Europe. To foster greater transparency, DuPont should publish a comprehensive list of its hazardous chemicals, including the volume and their respective contribution to total revenue. It would also be prudent to specify which chemicals are designated for final products and those intended for intermediate use. Typically, information concerning chemicals in EU and US markets is accessible through public records, unlike in other regions worldwide. To ensure comprehensive global evaluation and chemical transparency, DuPont should publicize its revenue particulars beyond these regions.
- Map and phase out persistent chemicals
DuPont 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. DuPont 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 DuPont has 28 hazardous chemicals in its product portfolio, a key improvement point for the company is to reduce this number. DuPont 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.