NOT CURRENT YEAR
For the third year in a row, PPG Industries scores 11 points, proving that not much has happened at the company when it comes to phasing out hazardous substances and developing safer alternatives. In addition, PPG scores the same as last year across all four categories, making us wonder if they have taken any of our improvement suggestions into consideration. Although the company has reduced the number of hazardous chemicals in its portfolio from 32 to 27 hazardous chemicals, there are still three persistent substances among them. PPG Industries uses “Substance of Interest” scorecards to assess hazards and enable the development of more sustainable and less toxic products. The company claims to “actively seek to avoid using chemicals of concern in new products”, but lacks the strict criteria needed to ensure this. PPG Industries is rewarded with circularity points for its take-back scheme of leftover paints, but the company doesn’t seem to offer any products containing biobased or renewable feedstock.
Opportunities for improvement
- Map and phase out persistent chemicals
PPG Industries still produces or uses three persistent chemicals. 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. PPG Industries should therefore make sure to identify all uses, and publish volumes and percentage of total revenue of its persistent substances. The company should also publish a time-bound phase-out plan of each persistent chemical and an annual progression report to go with it.
- 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 PPG Industries has 27 hazardous chemicals in its production portfolio – a decrease from last year’s 32 – a paramount improvement point for the company is to continue to reduce this number. PPG Industries should therefore make sure to identify all uses, and publish volumes and percentage 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 PPG Industries’ 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.