NOT CURRENT YEAR
Mitsui Chemicals does not produce any SIN List chemicals or substances that are officially recognised as chemicals of high concern by the EU. However, data is only available for 13% of the company’s production, as the rest takes place outside the EU and US. The company has a method in place to screen and assess the sustainability of its products and includes intrinsic hazards of ingredients in the screening process. It does not, however, have a phase-out strategy for hazardous substances. The company follows several voluntary standards of good conduct, but has nonetheless been involved in numerous workplace safety incidents over the last ten years, including several explosions and fires.
Opportunities for improvement
- Add transparency to the hazardous product portfolio. We can only rank 13% of Mitsui’s overall production since the rest takes place outside the EU and US. For other regions there are no reliable and publicly available sources for identifying producers of hazardous chemicals. Informing ChemSec of hazardous chemical production outside the EU and US could help raise the company’s score.
- Mitsui has a product line that aims to minimise negative effects on the environment by considering energy and water use, which is great. But the world also needs less-toxic products to avoid environmental pollution and health threats. We therefore encourage Mitsui Chemicals to develop and offer alternatives that reduce the use of hazardous chemicals.
- The Japanese system of Environmental Dispute Coordination, where pollution complaints from citizens are followed up and settled within a short timeframe, leads to a minimum of accidents and spills. Nevertheless, since workplace safety incidents such as explosions and fires have been common occurrences for Mitsui Chemicals, the company should improve safety processes and train employees in order to reduce environmental incidents.
Mitsui Chemicals does not produce any SIN List substances, nor does the company produce any chemicals present on the REACH Candidate List or the REACH Authorisation List. It does not produce any persistent chemicals either. However, no data is available for the 87% of the company’s production that takes place outside the EU and US.
Mitsui has a method in place to screen and assess the sustainability of its products and includes intrinsic hazards of ingredients in the screening process. The company does not follow the principles of green chemistry or use the GreenScreen assessment tool, nor does it exclude substances with toxic properties from new products. It does, however, actively market safer alternatives on its website.
The Japanese company shares chemical safety information on its website but does not have a phase-out strategy for hazardous substances. Mitsui Chemicals is a member of Responsible Care and follows voluntary standards such as a Code of Conduct and a Supplier Code of Conduct.
The company’s subsidiaries have had several explosions and fires during the last ten years. One of them, Shimonoseki Mitsui Chemicals, failed to report 52 gas leaks (between 2009 and 2019) even though reporting is required. The majority of the gas leaks happened in plants filling nitrogen trifluoride. Another incident happened at a Mitsui Chemicals plant manufacturing resorcinol in 2012, when a big explosion caused one death, 22 injuries (half of which were neighbourhood residents) and damage to almost 500 houses.Download detailed information on controversies (PDF, 110 KB)