NOT CURRENT YEAR

Grade D+
ChemScore report card 2022

Sherwin-Williams

Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, the Sherwin-Williams Company manufactures, distributes, and sells paints, coatings and other related products. The company’s products are sold to professional, industrial and commercial customers, but also directly to retail customers primarily in North and South America. Sherwin-Williams has additional operations in the Caribbean region, Europe, and Asia.
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Total score
11 / 48

Grade summary

Sherwin-Williams is down 6 points from last year and falls from place 12 to 36 in the ChemScore ranking. The company has added six new hazardous substances to its portfolio, bringing it up to a total of 24. Most of Sherwin-Williams’ product portfolio is known, as 91 percent is sold in the EU or the United States. The company has a sustainability program in place to assess the environmental and toxicological impact of its products, but no strict cut-off criteria for hazardous chemicals in new products could be identified. Sherwin-Williams performs poorly when it comes to circularity; no circular products or processes could be identified. Nor has the company made any statements about its biobased content not competing with food production, or about its recycled content being free from hazardous chemicals.

How did we come to this score? 

Opportunities for improvement

  1. Map and phase out persistent chemicals
    Sherwin-Williams produces one persistent chemical, the same as last year. 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. Sherwin-Williams should publish a time-bound phase-out plan of its last known persistent chemical in order to have a completely persistent-free portfolio.
  2. 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 Sherwin-Williams has 24 hazardous chemicals in its production portfolio, six more than last year, a paramount improvement point for the company is to reduce this number. The company should therefore make sure to identify all uses, and publish volumes and percentages of the 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.
  3. Increase circularity
    The chemical industry finds itself at the beginning of the value chain. Therefore, it has a responsibility to act fast and ambitiously against the ever-growing scarcity of our planet’s resources. But Sherwin-Williams receives only one point for circularity since we were unable to identify any circular products or processes. Nor did we see a decrease in hazardous waste or commenced/increased use of recycled hazard-free feedstock or biobased material that explicitly did not compete with food production. For these reasons, the company should clearly identify its current circular practices, then develop and present a time-bound strategy with clear indicators for how to expand its production and use of circular products and processes.

Category breakdown

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Product Portfolio
3 / 18
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Development of Safer Chemicals
5 / 12
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Management & Transparency
3 / 12
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Lack of Controversies
0 / 6
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Overall rank
36 / 54
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Total score
11 / 48
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Product Portfolio
3 / 18
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Development of Safer Chemicals
5 / 12
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Management & Transparency
3 / 12
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Lack of Controversies
0 / 6
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Controversies
Other years
Year Rank Total score
2023 20 / 50 15 / 48
2022 36 / 54 11 / 48
2021 12 / 50 17 / 48
2020 11 / 35 15 / 48