NOT CURRENT YEAR

Grade C
ChemScore report card 2021

Mitsubishi Chemical

Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corporation is a holding company established through the merger of Mitsubishi Chemical and Mitsubishi Pharma. As the biggest chemical company in Japan, Mitsubishi produces a broad range of petrochemical products, including basic chemicals, electronic materials and pharmaceuticals.
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Total score
17 / 48

Grade summary

Mitsubishi Chemical has climbed considerably in the ChemScore ranking this year – from 22nd place to ninth. This is due to the company’s newly established Circular Economy Department, and also the fact that it now has a top score in the Lack of Controversies category, since the incidents holding back the company’s score last year occurred in 2010, which is now more than ten years ago. Mitsubishi has decreased its hazardous portfolio, but only slightly – from seven to six highly problematic chemicals. In addition, there is no available data for the 76 percent of the company’s production that takes place outside of the EU and US. This low transparency is a big issue for investors, as it makes it hard to do a proper evaluation of the risks connected to the product portfolio.

Opportunities for improvement

  1. We can only rank 24 percent of Mitsubishi Chemical’s overall production, since the rest takes place outside the EU and US, where there are no reliable and publicly available sources for identifying producers of hazardous chemicals. Informing ChemSec about hazardous chemical production outside the EU and US could raise the company’s score considerably. Phasing out the PIC substance that Mitsubishi Chemical still offers should also be a priority. 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.
  2. Mitsubishi Chemical has established a Circular Economy Department, but to follow that up, we would like to see SMART targets for the circular economy strategy, as well as products or processes with a circular end-of-life concept. Using mechanical recyclates and bio-based materials with a clear origin would also strengthen Mitsubishi Chemical’s approach.
  3. The company does have a system in place to assess chemicals and their properties, but lacks a phase-out strategy and strict cut-off criteria. This means that there is no strategy for designing out hazardous chemicals from new products, no clear targets or deadlines.

Category breakdown

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Product Portfolio
3 / 18

Mitsubishi Chem produces/uses 6 highly hazardous substances –6 SIN List chemicals, 1 PIC, and 2 HHPs – 1 of which is included on the EU’s REACH Candidate List. None of these highly hazardous substances are either banned or severely restricted, with set dates when production needs to cease (no Authorisation List substances, and no POPs). The company produces no persistent chemicals.

Please note that there is no available data for the 76 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.

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Development of Safer Chemicals
4 / 12

Mitsubishi Chemical 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. Mitsubishi Chemical actively markets safer alternatives on its own website, but not on ChemSec Marketplace. The company has no true circular product, process or innovation. Mitsubishi uses bio-based resources, but at the expense of occupying extra land or in competition with food production. It does not source and treat recycled materials in a sustainable way, which is one of the key elements of a circular economy. Mitsubishi Chemical is not actively reducing the hazardous waste it generates.

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Management & Transparency
4 / 12

The Japanese company does not produce only sustainable products and has no phase-out strategy for hazardous substances that go beyond regulatory compliance. It shares chemical safety information on its website and is following a credible code of conduct standard. Mitsubishi Chemical responded to ChemSec’s attempts to communicate around its ChemScore ranking, but it does not share any information about what kind of chemicals it produces in regions with low regulatory demands for transparency (e.g. Asia). Mitsubishi Chemical does have a circular economy program in place, but it is lacking objective and measurable circular economy targets.

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Lack of Controversies
6 / 6

Although Mitsubishi Chemical has not been involved in any major controversies over the past ten years, the company and its subsidiaries paid close to 80,000 USD for workplace safety or health violations between 2011 and 2020, according to the violation tracker project of Good Jobs First.

Download Controversies Mitsubishi Chemical (PDF, 115 KB)
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Overall rank
9 / 50
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Total score
17 / 48
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Product Portfolio
3 / 18
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Development of Safer Chemicals
4 / 12
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Management & Transparency
4 / 12
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Lack of Controversies
6 / 6
Download report
Other years
Year Rank Total score
2023 33 / 50 12 / 48
2022 30 / 54 12 / 48
2021 9 / 50 17 / 48
2020 22 / 35 12 / 48