ChemSec, the International Chemical Secretariat, is an independent nonprofit organization that advocates for replacing toxic chemicals with safer alternatives. The organization was founded in 2002 and engages the work of chemists, political scientists, business experts, and communicators, among others with the support of the Swedish Government, foundations, private individuals, and other nonprofit organizations. In 2021, ChemSec will introduce a new iteration of ChemScore, which is a chemical industry sustainability ranking. The 2020 rankings are now freely available to anyone, and the 2021 rankings will be released in the fall of 2021. The new version of the ranking system will have an increased scope and cover new, important aspects of chemicals and sustainability, such as a specific circular economy criterion. The ranking will also allow for users to follow a company’s progress year by year and for ChemSec to add more companies to the listing. The 2020 ranking includes 35 companies, and the aim for the 2021 rankings is to include 50 chemical companies. The ranking for each company includes four different categories:
1. Hazardous product portfolio — each company’s total hazardous chemical production weighted on the basis of the company’s total revenue. Lower production of hazardous chemicals results in a higher category score.
2. Development of safer chemicals — the company’s strategy toward safer products, including in the design stage, marketing, research and development, and green chemistry.
3. Management and transparency — the company’s transparency with product ingredients and its public commitments to phase out certain substances.
4. Controversies — the company’s track record of accidents and controversies, such as fines and liability cases.
Aviva Investors, a global asset manager, helped develop the first ChemSec ranking and will continue to support the ChemScore ranking project. According to Eugenie Mathieu, senior environmental, social, and governance (ESG) analyst at Aviva, “Having better data, to distinguish which companies are leading on green chemistry and reducing their risks from those who are not, is therefore vitally important. We actively incorporate the results from ChemScore into company evaluations and investment decisions and look forward to the wider scope that ChemScore will offer in 2021.” The rankings for 2020 are currently available at www.chemscore.chemsec.org/reports.