Lanxess has made notable progress during the past three years and lands a C grade in ChemScore 2023. It is also one of three companies that has disclosed 100 per cent of its global hazardous substances portfolio. Lanxess produces 35 SIN substances and nine persistent chemicals. The company has a comprehensive approach to product sustainability, committing to not developing new products with hazardous substances.
Lanxess offers sustainable product lines and safer alternatives, along with technology enabling circularity and reducing hazardous waste. The company has consistently reduced the number of SIN List substances in its portfolio but there is no public strategy available explaining this trend. Clear and concise KPIs for increased circularity regarding the core portfolio are also missing.
Opportunities for improvement
- Map and phase out persistent chemicals
Lanxess produces or uses at least nine 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. Lanxess 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 Lanxess has 35 hazardous chemicals in its product portfolio, a key improvement point for the company is to reduce this number. Lanxess 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.
- Define specific circular chemical KPIs with measurable targets
While Lanxess has made progress in monitoring and enhancing the use of renewable raw materials, there is an opportunity for the company to establish more concrete circular chemical Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). To better assess and track its advancements in this area, we recommend that Lanxess define specific indicators and set timebound targets. This approach will not only provide a clearer framework for assessing progress but also enable stakeholders to monitor and evaluate the company’s commitment to circularity in a more measurable and transparent manner.