NOT CURRENT YEAR
LyondellBasell makes a significant drop in this year’s ranking, going from top ten to position 29. The company, which is one of the largest in the ChemScore ranking according to revenue, has a wide array of hazardous chemicals, including one persistent chemical. LyondellBasell has programs in place to assess the environmental impact of some of its products and replace them with safer alternatives. However, a clear commitment to phase out hazardous chemicals is still lacking. The company receives five points in the Development of Safer Chemicals category, one of which is awarded for its work with polymers made from renewable-based feedstock. LyondellBasell only gets three points in the Management & Transparency category, in part for not presenting ambitious and timebound circular targets with indicators making it possible to follow and evaluate the progress. Finally, the company has an incident-ridden track record, including an acetic acid leak at one of its Texas plants in July of 2021, causing the death of two of LyondellBasell’s workers.
Opportunities for improvement
- Map and phase out persistent chemicals
LyondellBasell produces one persistent chemical. These substances are also known as “forever chemicals” due to the fact that they do not break down in nature. Instead, these chemicals — which are linked to many negative health effects — build up over time. The consequences of these substances are becoming increasingly detrimental, not only for human health and the environment but also for investors. Investors risk stranded assets now that the regulatory speed is accelerating, and are also exposed to significant liability risks since more chemical companies are being sued for contamination. LyondellBasell should publish a time-bound phase-out plan of its one known forever chemical in order to become a persistent-free company.
- Reduce hazardous portfolio
Scientists agree that chemical pollution has crossed a planetary boundary and become an urgent global problem. This threatens the stability of global ecosystems upon which humanity depends, by damaging the biological and physical processes that underpin all life. Since LyondellBasell has 54 hazardous chemicals in its product portfolio, one more than last year, a principal improvement point for the company is to reduce this number. LyondellBasell should therefore make sure to identify all uses, and publish volumes and percentages of total revenue of its hazardous substances. It should also publish a reduction road map of each hazardous chemical and an annual progression report. If the company continues to produce any hazardous substances, it needs to present a rationale for its essential use, motivate the production volume, and state how much money it spends on research and development to find a safer alternative.
- Market safer alternatives
We did identify safer alternatives in LyondellBasell‘s product portfolio, but these are not marketed on any independent third-party platform. Therefore, they are hard to find for downstream users looking to substitute hazardous chemicals. A good place to market these is ChemSec’s Marketplace, where buyers and suppliers can find and market safer alternatives.