Read the full article by Simon Jessop here (Reuters)

“Investors managing $4.1 trillion in assets are urging the world’s biggest chemicals companies to phase out production of hazardous substances which linger in the environment and have been linked to serious health problems.

The move by 23 investors including Aviva Investors (AV.L) and Storebrand (STB.OL) comes as regulators toughen rules around their use and as analysts warn some companies could face billions of dollars in associated clean-up and compensation costs.

In a letter to the world’s 50-biggest chemical producers with combined revenues of $860 billion the investors call for increased transparency around how many “substances of very high concern” they produce every year.

Whilst U.S. and European regulators have disclosure requirements on hazardous chemicals, many other countries do not, and information on the volumes produced globally are not publically available.

To help investors, companies should also share the data with the non-profit International Chemical Secretariat (ICS), which advocates for a shift to safer chemicals and tracks the performance of leading producers, the letter seen by Reuters said.

‘We believe sustainable management of chemicals is key to financial outperformance,’ Eugenie Mathieu, senior analyst at Aviva Investors, told Reuters, citing the example of litigation tied to PFAS or perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, used in applications such as lubrication and industrial coatings.

So-called ‘persistent chemicals’ such as PFAS – which degrade slowly and are linked to a range of illnesses after getting into local water supplies – have already led to payouts from companies including 3M(MMM.N), and more cases are pending.”…