Over the past four years, Sasol has demonstrated a steady upward trend in its ChemScore ranking, progressing from 6 points in 2020 to 17 in 2023, currently holding a C rating. Sasol has actively engaged with us for the last three consecutive years. Sasol now manages 15 SIN List substances, a slight decrease from the previous year. However, only 44 per cent its production is currently known, indicating room for improvement in transparency.
Sasol has made strides with partners in developing biosurfactants and has one safer alternative advertised on ChemSec’s Marketplace. However, a circular product or process meeting ChemScore criteria could not be identified. Notably, there is a lack of information on the company website regarding the production and marketing of bio-based products. And while their efforts to collect plastic waste are commendable, the focus on chemical recycling, given its high energy consumption and limited commercial scalability, prevents the awarding of points. On a positive note, hazardous waste generation has decreased.
In conclusion, Sasol’s progress in terms of sustainability is notable. However, areas such as transparency and the lack of circularity policies warrant attention.
Opportunities for improvement
- 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 Sasol has 15 hazardous chemicals in its product portfolio, a key improvement point for the company is to reduce this number. Sasol 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.
- Increase circularity
The chemical industry finds itself at the beginning of the value chain. Therefore, it has a responsibility to act fast against the ever-growing scarcity of our planet’s resources. Sasol receives zero points for circularity since we were unable to identify any circular products, processes or strategies. Nor did we see a decrease in hazardous waste or increased use of recycled hazard-free feedstock or biobased material. Sasol should start by identifying its current production and use of circular products and processes, and then specify the share of revenue that is derived from such products. The company should also develop and present a circularity strategy, including a commitment to increase the share of revenue derived from circular products.
- Increase transparency
Much is still unknown about Sasol‘s production of hazardous chemicals. At least when it comes to public information. In order to allow a comprehensive global evaluation, Sasol should disclose the share of revenue and production volume of hazardous chemicals (or products that contain them). This information should cover all operations globally. This is particularly important since only 44 percent of the company’s sales are in the EU/US, where some degree of chemical transparency exists.