Mitsubishi Chemical scores a D+ in ChemScore 2023. The company produces 19 SIN substances and eight persistent chemicals, but only a fifth of its global production is disclosed, which has consequences for the score. The company implements product stewardship initiatives and offers some eco-friendly products and materials. However, it lacks a public commitment to avoid hazardous chemicals in new products. Mitsubishi Chemical’s circular products and processes do not meet the criteria used by ChemScore but some of its products use biobased or renewable materials.
While the company has a Circular Economy Promotion Committee, concrete KPIs and targets that are relevant for ChemScore have not been identified. Mitsubishi Chemical needs to demonstrate a stronger commitment to reducing hazardous substances and provide more transparent information about its circular initiatives and concrete KPIs.
Opportunities for improvement
- Map and phase out persistent chemicals
Mitsubishi Chemical produces or uses at least eight 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. Mitsubishi Chemical 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 Mitsubishi Chemical has 19 hazardous chemicals in its product portfolio, a key improvement point for the company is to reduce this number. Mitsubishi Chemical 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
Mitsubishi Chemical 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.