Ashland Inc. (NYSE: ASH) has raised the bar on its business-driven environment, social, and governance (ESG) targets by demonstrating a clear link between its long-range strategic plans and detailed ESG progress. The 2021 ESG report, available digitally, frames the company’s progress across a detailed materiality matrix that shows the interrelationships between ESG issues while at the same time reinforcing the company’s commitment to solving some of its industries’ most challenging business issues.
The report expands on Ashland’s February 2021 commitment to develop science-based targets that are aligned with the ambitious aim of the Paris Climate Accord to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C above preindustrial levels. By making the United Nations (UN) Global Compact and its principles part of the company’s business strategy, culture and day-to-day operations, Ashland demonstrates that company-wide commitment can reconcile the needs of people, planet and profit.
“This ESG report stands alongside quarterly earnings, year-end results and long-term plans as a principal document for charting the evolution of the Ashland transformation,” said Guillermo Novo, chair and chief executive officer, Ashland. “We understand and demonstrate at every level how environmental actions, social strategies and public accountability and transparency are vital to business results and the value we deliver to customers, consumers, and the communities in which we live and work. These initiatives reinforce Ashland’s recent reset and provide a platform for sustainable innovations that will foster top-line growth in the transition to a low-carbon economy.”
1.5°C Science Based Emissions Reduction Targets
More than 1,000 businesses are working with the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) to reduce their emissions in line with climate science. Ashland has committed to set science-based emissions reduction targets across all relevant scopes1, in line with 1.5°C emissions scenarios to ensure the strongest ambition in the short-to -medium term. The campaign is led by the SBTi and backed by a global coalition of UN leaders, business organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
United Nations Global Compact
The UN Global Compact has been deemed the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative. It aims to accelerate business action to achieve sustainable development goals and more ambitious climate targets. By committing, Ashland joins more than 12,000 companies and 3,000 non-business signatories based in over 160 countries and 69 local networks. Ashland’s ongoing sustainability efforts have been focused on three key domains: sustainable sourcing, operations and solutions.
Ashland has recently received Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) Supply Chain certification and achieved Forest Stewardship Council Chain of Custody Certification (FSC) and Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) and has established a program for responsible guar sourcing.
Regarding corporate social responsibility, Ashland has a partnership with EcoVadis for third party supplier self-assessment verification. The code holds suppliers to the same high standards as Ashland with respect to labor and employment rights, environmental health and safety, business ethics and social responsibility, and global trade practices as well as requiring compliance with all laws and regulations. In 2021 Ashland earned EcoVadis Silver Status.
Ashland is continuing to partner with farmers in Mexico to ensure Ashland’s aloe is harvested in an ecologically sustainable way and in 2021 Ashland maintained a Fair for Life certification. The Fair-Trade Funds are then used as directed by the local farmers to improve conditions within the communities where Ashland’s aloe is grown. These funds have historically been used to enrich education and support local schools.
Ashland has committed to completing Life Cycle Assessments for major product lines beginning with the personal care portfolio. Additionally, individual facilities have goals for the reduction of energy, hazardous waste and water.
Ashland is in the process of setting science-based targets to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Currently the company is preparing the submittal and will announce targets following approval. In the interim, Ashland has emissions and energy reduction goals (intensity based), as well as hazardous waste goals to drive continued improvement.
Living sustainably is imperative to the planet and for the health and wellbeing of future generations. Consumers increasingly choose products that originate in nature with renewable resources, and they seek planet-friendly and biodegradable labels with assurance that ingredients are ethically sourced from farm to finished product.
Ashland has developed business-specific sustainability guides for customers to quickly identify sustainable products for their applications. Ashland’s personal care business focuses on natural, nature-derived, and biodegradable products. Furthermore, the company is expanding its COSMOS* validated product portfolio and innovating for vegan products. For life sciences and specialty additives, the sustainability focus is dependent on the industry, customers’ needs and the end use of the customer’s product. Recyclability, biodegradability and the circular economy are all driving factors.
Ashland will continue reporting in line with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and Sustainable Accounting Standards Board (SASB) standards for the chemical industry. Alignment allows Ashland to share the most important material issues with stakeholders and reduce environmental impact. They hold the company and its suppliers to higher social and ethical standards while innovating with a clear conscience for the environment and humanity.
Ashland is continuing to work to increase transparency in ESG, by participating in Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit (SMETA) audits, disclosing on EcoVadis, and achieving several key certifications mentioned above to support increased transparency and disclosures.
As part of the company’s transformation, Ashland has integrated ESG into its business strategy which includes critical checkpoints within the innovation process to drive sustainable solutions.
Ashland has been recognized by the American Chemistry Council, the Society of Chemical Manufacturing Association, the European Sustainable Cosmetics Summit and others, for safe and sustainable initiatives. In 2020, the American Chemistry Council recognized Ashland with a sustainability leadership award for environmental protection and circularity.
To learn more visit ashland.com/ESG
1 - In line with the criteria of the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), scope 3 targets are required whenever scope 3 emissions represent 40% or more of total emissions generated by the company.
* The COSMOS* standard is an international non-profit association that establishes common requirements and definitions for organic and/or natural cosmetics. It was developed at the European and international level by the founders of the COSMOS* standard AISBL.