Last year’s runner-up beats DSM this year by a close margin and tops ChemScore 2021. Indorama Ventures takes the top spot even though the company has lost its self-acclaimed title from last year of being free from SIN List chemicals. Due to business acquisitions it now produces three SIN listed chemicals. There’s no record of Indorama being involved in any major controversies, rendering the company all six points in the Lack of Controversies category. The company performs rather well in the Development of Safer Chemicals category as well, but is only awarded half of the Management & Transparency points, due to not producing exclusively sustainable products and not disclosing information about its production outside of the EU and US, among other things. If Indorama wants to surpass DSM in the ranking, it needs to raise its efforts in the first three categories.
Opportunities for improvement
- The top scorer in our ranking produces three SIN substances. Last year, the self-declared SIN-free company acquired business units from Huntsman, including those three reactive substances. We would like to encourage Indorama to stick to its strict chemical management and find ways to phase out those hazardous substances, even if they were inherited from an acquired company. It would also be a good idea to phase out the PIC substance that Indorama still offers. PIC, short for Prior Informed Consent, is one of the key provisions of the Rotterdam Convention, allowing the export of – often domestically restricted – hazardous chemicals to poorer countries with weaker chemical legislation, as long as the receiving country signs a consent that it understands what it is accepting and has a plan for how to handle it.
- Indorama is one of the largest plastic producers in the world. For that reason, it is vital for the company to adopt a circular business strategy in order to solve the plastic waste crisis. Recycling PET bottles is a good start, but it should be followed by more strategic decisions for additional product groups.
- Even though Indorama scores fairly well in the Product Portfolio category, the company is missing out on many points, due to the unknown chemical production that takes place outside the EU and the US. If Indorama disclosed its full production, including regions with low transparency, it could potentially render the company many points. Making safety data sheets publicly available online would also be very beneficial for Indorama.
Indorama produces/uses 3 highly hazardous substances – 3 SIN List chemicals, 1 PIC, and 2 HHPs – 1 of which are included on the EU’s REACH Candidate List. None of these highly hazardous substances is either banned or severely restricted (no Authorisation List substances, and no POPs). The company produces no persistent chemicals.
Please note that there is no available data for the 35 percent of the company’s production that takes place outside of the EU and US. Lower EU/US production means higher uncertainty with regard to the total production of hazardous chemicals, which will have a negative impact on the company’s score in this category.
Indorama Ventures has a method in place to screen and assess the sustainability of its products and includes the intrinsic hazards of ingredients in the screening process. It does not, however, exclude substances with toxic properties from its new products. Indorama Ventures actively markets safer alternatives both on its own website as well as on ChemSec Marketplace. The company has at least one truly circular product, process or innovation. Indorama Ventures uses biobased resources without occupying extra land or competing with food production. It sources and treats recycled materials in a sustainable way, which is one of the key elements of a circular economy. However, Indorama Ventures is not actively reducing the hazardous waste it generates.
The Thai company does not produce only sustainable products, but it does have a phase-out strategy – albeit not timed – for hazardous substances that go beyond regulatory compliance. It does not share chemical safety information on its website, but is following a credible code of conduct standard. Indorama Ventures responded to ChemSec’s attempts to communicate around its ChemScore ranking. However, the company does not share any information about what kind of chemicals it produces in regions with low regulatory demands for transparency (e.g. Asia). Indorama Ventures has a circular economy program with objective and measurable targets.
Indorama Ventures has not been involved in many scandals or controversies over the past decade, but in May 2020, a study showed that only 20 companies are behind more than half of the world’s single-use plastic waste. Indorama was one of them.Download Controversies Indorama Ventures (PDF, 88 KB)