Eastman Chemical has an upward trend in the ChemScore ranking, moving from 11 points in the previous two years to 16 points in this year’s iteration. The company manages a hazardous chemicals portfolio with 17 SIN List substances, a significant reduction from the previous year due to statements on intermediate use. One of these chemicals is persistent. Eastman Chemical excels in transparency with all of its production accounted for.
The company is committed to reducing and eliminating known chemicals of concern, but its statement is too generic and lacks clear cut-off criteria for harmful chemicals in new products. It also lacks clear and timed phase-out plans for the company’s hazardous substances. Eastman Chemical offers sustainable products, listing seven of them on ChemSec’s Marketplace. The company states that it is dedicated to creating a circular economy, but its KPIs for increasing circular products and recycling textile waste aren’t rewarded any points since it’s unclear whether mechanical recycling processes are employed.
Opportunities for improvement
- Map and phase out persistent chemicals
Eastman Chemical produces or uses one persistent chemical. 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. Eastman Chemical 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 Eastman Chemical has 17 hazardous chemicals in its product portfolio, a key improvement point for the company is to reduce this number. Eastman Chemical 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.
- Publish timed phase-out plans and design out harmful chemicals from new products
Eastman Chemical tracks the substances within its portfolio. But to further advance its commitment to sustainability, the company should publicly commit to phasing out specific hazardous substances as well as designing out harmful chemicals from new innovations. Publicly disclosed phase-out plans with well-defined deadlines not only demonstrate determination but also a genuine commitment to progressing in a sustainable direction by prioritising safer alternatives.