Solvay has a large production of hazardous chemicals and data tells us that it is producing 35 problematic substances, including 4 persistent chemicals, which leaves the company without a single point in the first category. Another poor area…
Solvay produces/uses 35 highly hazardous substances – 32 SIN List chemicals, 5 PICs, and 6 HHPs – 13 of which are included on the EU’s REACH Candidate List. 4 of these highly hazardous substances are either banned or severely restricted, with set dates when production needs to cease (4 Authorisation List substances, and no POPs). The company produces 4 persistent chemicals. Persistent chemicals are particularly problematic, since they do not break down, but instead accumulate in humans and the environment. Because of this, persistent chemicals should be of extra concern for investors; substances that are not considered a problem today could become huge liabilities in the future.
Please note that there is no available data for the 43 percent of the company’s production that takes place outside of the EU and US. Lower EU/US production means higher uncertainty with regard to the total production of hazardous chemicals, which will have a negative impact on the company’s score in this category.
Solvay has a method in place to screen and assess the sustainability of its products and includes the intrinsic hazards of ingredients in the screening process. It does not, however, exclude substances with toxic properties from its new products. Solvay actively markets safer alternatives both on its own website as well as on ChemSec Marketplace. The company does not have any true circular products, processes or innovations. Solvay uses bio-based resources, but at the expense of occupying extra land or in competition with food production. It does not source and treat recycled materials in a sustainable way, which is one of the key elements of a circular economy. Solvay is, however, actively reducing the hazardous waste it generates.
The Belgian company does not produce only sustainable products and it does not have a timed phase-out strategy for hazardous substances that go beyond regulatory compliance. It does not share chemical safety information on its website, but it is following a credible code of conduct standard. Solvay did not respond to ChemSec’s attempts to communicate around its ChemScore ranking and it does not share any information about what kind of chemicals it produces in regions with low regulatory demands for transparency (e.g. Asia). Solvay does have a circular economy program in place, but it is lacking objective and measurable circular economy targets.