LyondellBasell’s ChemScore ranking has fluctuated over time. This year, the company receives a C- in the ranking. The company produces 54 SIN List substances, of which one is persistent, and is transparent about two-thirds of its sold production. LyondellBasell has a comprehensive product stewardship program focusing on health, safety, and environmental protection and offers sustainable products. While the company systematically assesses safer alternatives for hazardous substances, it needs clearer commitments and a phase-out plan to reduce the number of SIN List chemicals in its portfolio.
LyondellBasell has circular product lines and dedicated circularity managers but because of an unclear presentation, it is impossible to assess the level of ambition. One circular target was found, but the proportion of mechanical and biobased materials in relation to chemically recycled materials remains unknown.
Opportunities for improvement
- Map and phase out persistent chemicals
LyondellBasell produces or uses at least 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. LyondellBasell 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 LyondellBasell has 54 hazardous chemicals in its product portfolio, a key improvement point for the company is to reduce this number. LyondellBasell 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.
- Market safer alternatives
LyondellBasell does not have any safer alternatives evaluated by independent third parties in its product portfolio. Safer alternatives replace the use of hazardous substances and are crucial in order to put an end to chemical pollution. The company should, therefore, start producing safer alternatives or market existing ones on an independent third-party platform. A good place to advertise is ChemSec’s Marketplace, where buyers and suppliers can find and market safer alternatives.