Chemical companies say ChemScore doesn’t present ‘full picture’


Some chemical companies ranked in NGO ChemSec’s recently launched ChemScore, have said there are “shortcomings” in the assessments and that they do not present the “full picture” of a company’s safe management of chemicals.

ChemScore – launched on 16 June – ranks chemical companies against four criteria, largely looking into their efforts to reduce the production of hazardous chemicals and increase investments in “safer, greener alternatives”.

Chemical Watch contacted all 35 companies to ask for responses to their individual rankings and the criteria to assess them. Nine companies responded by the time of publishing.

Most argued the hazard assessment of a company’s product portfolio did not provide a full picture because other sustainability factors – and how the risks of hazardous chemicals are managed – were not considered.

Covestro, which received 18 of a possible 48 points, said that while it “recognises the hazards of chemicals, we consider it only one aspect of a comprehensive risk management”. And Ecolab, which received 14 points, said the rankings “do not reflect a total impact view or how the chemistries are consumed or what the societal benefits are”.

However, Chemsec’s Sonja Haider said carbon disclosure as well as water, waste and emissions are now often included in sustainability reporting and so “we didn’t want to duplicate existing rankings and evaluations … and focused solely on chemical practices”.

She added that risk management is expensive and “can be very complex and is by no means foolproof”. “When products are used in unintended ways or without the required protection, these predictions fail to fulfil their purpose, which is to protect human health and the environment,” she said.

Evonik, which received 13 points, said there are “shortcomings” in how companies were scored, highlighting, for example, the “double negative scoring” for substances on ChemSec’s Substitute It Now (SIN) list and the EU REACH candidate list.

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Chemical Watch, 26 June 2020