Global Chemical Companies Release Guidance for Environmental Footprint of Products

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) has published a new guide designed to help chemical industry customers and stakeholders make more informed, sustainable choices.

Geneva, 1 October 2014 – Entitled Life Cycle Metrics for Chemical Products, the guidance document is the result of a collaboration between leading chemical companies that are part of the WBCSD’s Reaching Full Potential project.

Focused on life cycle assessment methods, a key objective of the new guide is to provide and communicate material information about the environmental footprint of products that customers and stakeholders can trust and compare.

The new guide is the third publication from the Reaching Full Potential group, following “Guidance for Accounting and Reporting Corporate GHG Emissions in the Chemical Sector Value Chain” and “Addressing the Avoided Emissions Challenge”.

A key role of the chemical industry is to enable improved sustainability across value chains, a principle fully embraced by the member companies of the Reaching Full Potential project. However, in order to get true market pull for more sustainable products and realize the WBCSD’s Vision 2050 – 9 billion people living well within the limits of the planet – there is a clear need to communicate reliable information on a wide range of issues.

Reaching Full Potential companies will continue to advance developments in sustainability metrics for the chemical sector. The Project is currently developing a guide for companies to assess the impact and benefits of chemical products from a social perspective. This work was launched in early 2014 and is expected to be ready by late 2015.

Peter Bakker, President and CEO of the WBCSD, said “Developing a common guide for the environmental assessment of products is an important step forward in the continued progress of the chemical sector activities at the WBCSD. This will allow chemical sector companies to communicate with a common language to companies downstream, and help scaling up solutions to enable greater sustainability in value chains”.

Feike Sijbesma, CEO of Royal DSM NV and Co-Chair of the WBCSD Reaching Full Potential Project, said:  “Our industry is committed to addressing our environmental footprint and to combating climate change in order to create a more sustainable world. With this clear guide, which we have developed collectively, we are taking the next step. At DSM we continuously pursue opportunities to further integrate and measure sustainability into everything we do. We use our bright science to innovate and create a brighter world.”

Peter Nieuwenhuizen, Director of Innovation and Partnerships at AkzoNobel, one of the companies that compiled the guide, said: “This is an extremely valuable document that will enable us to provide credible information about how chemical value chains impact on and contribute to sustainability. It’s also a perfect fit with our own Planet Possible approach of bringing more value to customers and doing radically more while using less.”

Member companies and partners of the chemical sector Reaching Full Potential project:
AkzoNobel; BASF; DSM; Cefic; Eastman Chemical; Evonik Industries; Henkel; SABIC; SCG Chemicals Company; Solvay; Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Company, supported by PricewaterhouseCoopers.