DuPont uses an 11-point sustainability checklist to assess each of its research projects, reports the Guardian.
The checklist, which was developed by the company’s chief sustainability officer Linda Fisher, assesses sustainability metrics such as water and toxicology impacts. Only those projects that have a 40 percent improvement in one of those metrics, while not negatively impacting on any of the other criteria, wins support.
Fisher, who worked for years as an environmental regulator before moving to the private sector, says that the system has helped scientists and various DuPont divisions to think carefully about what their focus should be.
She credits DuPont’s emergence as a player in the solar industry — highlighted by its development of a photovoltaic metalization paste that improves solar panel efficiency — as evidence of the effect of the checklist.
In July, DuPont announced plans to divest a big portion of its traditional chemical business, including its Teflon fluoroproducts brand and its titanium dioxide pigment unit.
The company is considering a sale or a spin-off for the business and will keep engineering polymers and electronic chemicals plus well-known brands Kevlar, Corian and Tyvek, reported Chemical & Engineering News. DuPont CEO Ellen J. Kullman told stock analysts that the company will focus on agricultural chemicals, seeds, nutrition, biobased chemicals and advanced materials.
DuPont’s absolute greenhouse gas emissions increased by 6 percent from 2010 to 2011, while its revenue increased 18 percent, from around $32,733 million in 2010 to $38,719 million in 2011, according to the company’s 2012 corporate sustainability report.