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Already in 2018, under the umbrella of the World Business Council on Sustainable Development, thirteen pioneering chemical companies developed the Portfolio Sustainability Assessments methodology to demonstrate how chemical companies – on top of regulatory requirements – can proactively screen and steer their chemical innovation, products and services portfolio’s towards safer and enhanced environmental and sustainability performance.

With the European Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability’s ambition to steer the European chemical industry towards developing Safe and Sustainable by Design chemicals, processes and services, this voluntary industry approach proves especially valuable to proactively manage and steer products and services portfolios and to continuously evolve towards a safer and overall better sustainability performance.

To raise awareness about this methodology and share best practices amongst essenscia members, essenscia organized with the help of Eastman, Solvay and BASF a workshop on this topic in 2021. Another workshop is planned in 2022.

The PSA methodology provides 5 steps with increasing maturity levels allowing companies to advance at their own pace towards the European 2050 ‘North Star’ targets of climate neutrality, circularity and the zero pollution ambition. Key is that the assessment can only be done on a chemical substance – application combination: a chemical substance’s environmental and sustainability performance can only be assessed when looking into the use(s). For instance, the use of methanol as a base chemical substance at the beginning of various different chemical value chains, needs to be evaluated differently than when looking into the environmental and sustainability performance of methanol in, for instance, washing & cleaning products.

Company testimonials

  • For 100 years, Eastman has innovated products and solutions that touch the lives of people every day, and its business has evolved along with society. In an ever-changing world, Eastman is constantly adapting to shifts in consumer expectations and market drivers to stay ahead of the trends and produce the materials that people need. Innovation is the foundation of everything Eastman does. Eastman continues to realize its purpose of enhancing the quality of life in a material way by assessing macro trends and innovating for a sustainable future. As the company lays out a road map of innovation for the next decade, it will be intentional about the way its products and technologies decrease its impact on the planet, drive solutions for more circular materials and care for society.
  • BASF developed a Sustainable Solution Steering (TripleS) since 2012 which they applied to their entire products portfolio. They see it as a sound basis to steer investments and efforts in the most sustainable direction. They aim by 2025 to leverage their innovation power to achieve €22 billion in Accelerator sales. Accelerator being the best rated category of products according to their TripleS method. The least well-performing products (Challenged) will be phased out within 5 years at the latest, once classified as such.
  • Solvay’s Sustainable Portfolio Management (SPM) is a strategic decision-making tool to incorporate CSR into business decisions. They use five categories ranging from ‘challenged’, through ‘neutral’, to ‘star’ being the best rated products according to their SPM method. They aim for 65% group sales by 2030 from Sustainable Solutions. According to SPM, these are the top two performing categories that bring higher social and environmental contribution to customer performance and at the same time, demonstrate a lower environmental impact in their production phase.