Chemistry, Materials & Packaging
Global Chemical Companies Release Environmental Footprint Guide

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.

Life Cycle Metrics for Chemical Products 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”.

WBCSD members say a key role of the chemical industry is to enable improved sustainability across value chains. 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.

In June, the Chemical Facility Safety and Security Working Group, a federal government working group set up in 2013 after an explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, released recommendations that agencies should consider new rules for the storage and handling of chemicals. Established by Executive Order 13650 issued in response to the blast, the working group has developed a preliminary list of options for improving chemical facility safety and security for further discussion and comment.

Sustainable chemical technology company Genomatica recently published the results of a major survey of sustainability issues in the mainstream chemical industry that shows the topic is now considered a high priority in the field, with Genomatica itself ranking alongside industry giants such as BASF and Dow that come to mind when respondents think of those leading the charge. The survey was conducted together with ICIS, one of the world’s leading chemical and energy market information providers. The companies say they believe the new survey, the third in a series they have run since 2009, is the most extensive one to date of sustainability efforts in the chemical industry. The survey drew 958 responses worldwide, with 53 percent of respondents at the level of VP, general manager or above.

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